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Centre could be demolished

Wednesday, 8th December, 2010

The murals painted by Geoff DeMain on the Centre for Community in Beryl Street are under threat from a doctor’s proposal to demolish the centre The murals painted by Geoff DeMain on the Centre for Community in Beryl Street are under threat from a doctor’s proposal to demolish the centre

By Stefan Delatovic

The Centre for Community may be demolished to make way for a GP Super Clinic, but its owners insist its social value will be retained.

The Nachiappan Surgery has entered a bid for $7 million of Federal funding to create a GP Super Clinic.

They plan to buy the Centre for Community in Sturt Park and build the facility there. 

The owners of the centre, Broken Hill Community Inc, have given in-principle support for the plan.

The centre still shows its roots as a bowling club with playing greens out the back, but the land it occupies is zoned for business use. 

This has ruffled some feathers, as has the idea that the building could be knocked down and replaced.

Barbara Collins is one resident who isn't happy about the idea.

She has written to City Council protesting about a a chunk of Sturt Park being taken out of the sphere of recreation.

Of particular concern is the idea of turning the area now occupied by bowling greens into a carpark. 

"Most citizens are surprised and unaware that some of the Sturt Park can be sold," Ms Collins wrote.

"Today nothing is sacred, everything is sold for a price." A public meeting held December 6 found a majority of the 30-odd attendees were in favourof the Super Clinic plan, although concerns were raised.

President of Broken Hill Community Inc, John Harris, said they did want the Beryl Street murals retained one way or another.

If the building was knocked down, Mr Harris said artist Geoff Demain could be commissioned to repaint them, or posters could be created to retainthe images.

Mr Harris said some of the murals were in less than-stellar condition, and their replacement could indeed bring a better result.

In regards to a car park on site, Mr Harris said he would be "interested to know what other options people think the space could be used for".

Now the area's main use is as the venue for the monthly community markets. 

Turning the centre into a super clinic would mean the markets would need to find a new home, a fact raised at the public meeting and not objected to, Mr Harris said.

In supporting the super clinic, Community Inc has set conditions. They want gardens and water-wise infrastructure maintained, and they want long term assurances enshrined.

They are weighing up whether to sell the land or lease it, and they and the Nachiappan Practice will have mutual board representation.

The issue of access to the centre for community groups outside of the clinic's hours of operation also needed thought, Mr Harris said, with twobuildings being considered rather than one.

Council's General Manager, Frank Zaknich, said initial advice had been provided to the parties involved, but the plan was in its early days.

Council had not seen any draft plans, he said, and would need to consider a plan with much more detail before weighing in.

The facility will face a development application process, giving locals the chance to voice any concerns.

Mr Zaknich said Council had been asked for a letter of support for the super clinic bid.

Through that, he said, they may seek to maintain community access to the facility and to the murals.

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