Building bought for Mataura medical hub

New project. . . Mataura Community Board chairwoman Nicky Coats and Gore District mayor Ben Bell are pleased the former Alliance Group office building has been bought by the council and after refitting will be the new home for the Mataura Medical Centre. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Mataura’s new community medical hub is moving a step closer.

Alliance Group has sold its former 2300sq m office building and 1000sq mof adjoining land in McQueen Ave for $125,000 to the Gore District Council.

To be known as the Mataura Health and Social Services Hub, the building will become a one-stop health and social service hub.

The idea to buy the building and shift the Mataura Medical Centre into it was first mooted in 2019 by the previous Mataura Community Board.

Last year, Te Hau o Te Ora Partnered Primary Care Service, a partnership between Hokonui Runanga, Awarua Runaka, and WellSouth Primary Health Network, bought the Mataura Medical Practice.

There was no change for patients or the practice team, which included previous owner Dr Elaine Munro.

Hokonui Runanga manager Terry Nicholas said by the time the building was fitted out it would provide for the community’s healthcare needs.

Te Hau Ora was in the process of recruiting new medical staff.

It was good to see the council and runanga working together on the project, he said.

‘‘We’ve all got a social responsibility to do this.’’

A new trust called the Mataura Health and Social Services Trust was in the process of being formed to manage the facility.

Runanga, council, healthcare and community representatives would be the trustees, he said.

‘‘It’s empowering the Mataura community.’’

Once the medical centre had shifted into the hub, the building in Bridge St would be refurbished and used to offer other health services including podiatry and dental care, he said.

AllianceMataura plant manager Andre Pelser said the company was delighted that the property would be put to such valuable public use.

‘‘As a 100% farmer-owned co-operative, we have deep roots in the community. We employ more than 500 people at the Mataura plant and more than 2000 Southland-wide.

‘‘The building has been sold to the council under very favourable terms, which reflects Alliance’s commitment to the community.’’

Mataura Community Board chairwoman Nicky Coats said board members were extremely excited about buying the building and what the project meant for the town and wider community.

‘‘We’re looking forward to having a purpose-built building in Mataura to provide health services and attract and accommodate staff.

‘‘The building has immense potential to become a significant asset for Mataura and the district, with nearly 3000 people enrolled at the existing Mataura Medical Centre.’’

The Government’s ‘‘Better off’’ fund would provide $180,000 towards the cost of the project.

The community board was working alongside Te Hau oTe Ora and other service providers to finalise the floor plan, she said.

She could not say when the new facility would be open.