Hilltop’s next stage already being planned

A FUTURE fund has been established so the Hilltop Carer Accommodation Centre will be ready to expand once Albury’s $70 million cancer centre opens.

Construction began in Borella Road late last year on the regional cancer centre, which is due for completion in October, 2015.

Fight Cancer Foundation chief Eric Wright yesterday revealed how the expansion of Hilltop was being planned.

“The building’s completely paid for, it’s beautifully equipped and we’ve got a future fund,” he said.

The regional cancer centre gave the foundation the basis to move to the next stage and build another 10 or 20 rooms, he said.

Mr Wright spoke after a dedication ceremony at the 20-bedroom $5 million building in Keene Street.

NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner dedicated the building to cancer patients and their families on the first anniversary of it opening.

Mr Wright said yesterday was an ideal opportunity for Ms Skinner to carry out the dedication given she was in Albury to check progress on construction of Albury’s new ambulance station, inspect Albury hospital and meet Albury Wodonga Health staff.

He said yesterday’s event was a way to thank the NSW Government for its contribution to the project, for which the community raised $2.75 million.

The government initially tipped in $750,000, then put in another large sum to get fund-raising efforts over the line.

Just before the opening last year, member for Albury Greg Aplin paid them a visit and “very casually” asked how the fund- raising was going.

“I said we’re about $200,000 short — and I was boasting that we were almost there, that the fund-raising had been phenomenal,” Mr Wright said.

“I told him it would be the hardest $200,000 we’d raise but we’d get there pretty soon.

“He went off and spoke to Jillian Skinner and a week later he rang and said ‘can you raise an invoice to the Department of Health?’ as Jillian had authorised to pay for it.

“They gave us about another $200,000, so one week before we opened the front door the facility was fully paid for.”

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