BALLARAT construction company H Troon has been awarded the contract to build the Ballarat Base Hospital helipad.
Health Minister David Davis visited Ballarat yesterday to make the announcement at the hospital, where it was revealed construction would start early in the new year.
An additional $2.4 million has also been contributed by the City of Ballarat, which will see the number of additional car park spaces almost doubled from 100 to 199 spaces.
The state government had already committed $46.4 million to the base hospital in its 2012-13 budget.
It is expected the project will be finished by the end of 2014, when there will be a total of 492 car parks.
Speaking yesterday morning, Mr Davis said he was proud to see the project taking a major step closer to being completed.
The push for the helipad began in 2004 when member for Western Victoria David Koch first tabled a motion to have the helipad built.
“It was the Coalition that led the push for the helipad back in 2004,” Mr Davis said.
“We’re proud in our first term to see this helipad getting close to being complete and knowing it will be completed in our first term.
“It was a competitive tender which they (H Troon) won fair and square, which is an even better story because it will create local jobs and will create employment.”
Hospital chief executive officer Andrew Rowe said there would be some disruption to car parking, but no impact on actual hospital services.
“There will be no disruption for our acute services but, because we are building on an existing car park, there will be significant disruptions to car parking for visitors, patients and staff,” he said.
“We hope the community can deal with us as we go through the process.”
Ballarat Health Services board chairman Andrew Faull declared the project the biggest one to ever take place at the hospital.
“This really does give us an opportunity to have a clean start on the site ... it’s a very exciting time,” he said.
“This is one that really does give us the big picture and give us the chance to really transform the way the health service works.”