MP Chris Gulaptis at the HealthOne sod-turning in Evans Head.
MP Chris Gulaptis at the HealthOne sod-turning in Evans Head. Marc Stapelberg

Building begins on new health facility

RESIDENTS of Evans Head can look forward to the new HealthOne community health centre being one step closer to servicing the community.

Yesterday, Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis and other dignitaries marked the start of work on site with a sod-turning ceremony.

Mr Gulaptis said demolition to remove existing structures had commenced, making way for successful tenderer Woollam Constructions to build the brand new building.

"If all goes to plan, the new Evans Head HealthOne will open next year, bringing a modern health facility with extra health services to Evans Head,” Mr Gulaptis said.

"We are talking new clinical rooms, a gymnasium and treatment spaces as well as ample car parking on the same CBD site, which is a great outcome for the community.”

Richmond Valley Council general manager Vaughan Macdonald said the new facility was "critical for us to attract an aged care provider in Evans Head”.

"The HealthOne fits in really well with what the community needs,” Mr Macdonald said.

"Once we have this facility, there is the ability to have an aged care facility in Evans - that's been something the community has been really looking out for.”

The project had sparked community concern over the relocation of the Evans Head Living Museum to make space for the community health centre. 

"The museum is just about to move down to its new location in the central precinct of Reflections Holiday Park,” Mr MacDonald said.

"We've found them a new home and that was our commitment at the start of this process.

"Our vision was a health facility was really needed and it was about finding them a good new alternative home and we believe we've done that.”  

Richmond Valley mayor Robert Mustow said he was pleased to see work commence on the health facility, and said he was looking forward to the facility's completion.

"This facility is a great thing for the Evans Head and Lower River communities,” he said.

"It will help with a lot of health services and save many of these residents from having to travel.”

The new HealthOne will deliver a range of health services to the coastal communities, including chronic diseases management and lifestyle groups and cardiac rehab and respiratory groups.

There will also be child and family therapy groups including speech pathology, physiotherapy and occupational therapy, as well as dietetics and diabetes education services.

Community health services have been temporarily relocated just down the road from the old community health centre, with the HealthOne centre expected to open in 2020.

The new temporary location is Shop 1/33 Woodburn St in Evans Head.