Moyne Shire councillors have lobbied Health Minister Martin Foley for funding to develop a masterplan for the former Koroit hospital site.
Moyne Health Services earlier this month announced the Koroit and District Memorial Hospital building would be demolished after engineers declared its structural issues beyond repair.
At the time Moyne Shire Council announced it would contribute $50,000 to the creation of a masterplan for the site, and councillors used a recent advocacy trip to Melbourne to ask the state government to contribute.
The plan will cost around $200,000 all up, so Mr Foley was asked to chip in the remaining $150,000. Cr James Purcell said the minister seemed open to helping.
"It would be great if the government helped fund the plan, but it's also good to get them involved at an early stage in the whole project because that gives them some buy in," Cr Purcell said.
"We also asked him to come down and see the site and he seemed keen on that."
Cr Purcell said the plan would be put together soon, ideally over the next few months, and that it presented a priceless opportunity for both Koroit and the region.
"I think it's about five or six acres smack in the middle of Koroit, so you could have health services with everything from birth to death there," he said.
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Cr Purcell echoed fellow councillor Jim Doukas' comments to The Standard that many locals were calling for a return of aged care to Koroit after the previous service, which had been run at the hospital site, closed in 2011.
"It could include aged care. In fact it would be surprising if that didn't come out in the master planning," Cr Purcell said.
He said the state government had been very supportive of Moyne Health in Port Fairy and was confident it would recognise the benefits of a broad service health facility in Koroit.
"It would be a good ancillary to the Warrnambool Base Hospital and take the pressure off that service," he said.
Many Koroit locals have contacted The Standard to express sadness at the imminent demolition of the building, which opened in 1955 as a memorial and facility for returned war veterans.
Alex Johnson grew up in Woolsthorpe and said he remembered the opening vividly. "I remember going to the opening with my dad and the plaque being unveiled by a couple of sisters who had been in the war," Mr Johnson said.
"My dad was on the board of the hospital for 48 years. He was a returned man and went back to the family farm at Woolsthorpe and the hospital was always very important to him."
A concerned local contacted The Standard to say they had seen confidential medical files, including of deceased persons, dumped in a skip behind the old hospital building.
Moyne Health Services interim chief executive Katharina Redford issued a statement saying the issue had been dealt with.
"After investigation, I can confirm that all documents that are on the secured site, are being disposed of as per legislative requirements and in line with our policies and procedures," she said.
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