AFTER two years of fund-raising, lobbying and wading through red tape, the first sod has been officially turned for Warrnambool’s $1.6 million Rotary House.
In typical Rotary welcoming style, last night’s ceremony was accompanied by a sausage sizzle and a chit-chat about the project, which has garnered support from across the region and as far as Canberra.
The federal government has contributed $500,000, Rotary clubs and their fund-raising events more than $200,000, philanthropic funds about $85,000, Moyne and Warrnambool City councils about $70,000, local communities and individuals about $75,000 and businesses $27,000.
Donations of in-kind labour and services are estimated at $400,000.
An old cottage opposite Warrnambool Base Hospital in Timor Street was demolished earlier this month and construction will begin this week on a 12-bedroom complex to provide low-cost accommodation for families of patients needing to visit Warrnambool for medical treatment.
Project committee chairman Andrew Suggett said the city’s four Rotary clubs were grateful for community donations, which are continuing.
“It will be an important facility for the whole south-west region,” he said.
“We hope to have it finished by the first quarter of next year.”