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The Ministry of Health has submitted an application which will be using the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast Track Consenting) Act 2020 to gain consent for the construction of a new Dunedin Hospital.
Director Mike Barns of the programme says that the team, confident that consent under the Resource Management Act would be granted, the new COVID-19 Recovery Act would provide a shorter timeline to achieve this faster.
“It’s important we have certainty on the construction timeframes for the new Dunedin Hospital,” says Mike Barns.
“We’ve discussed the option of using the COVID-19 Recovery Act with the Dunedin City Council, and they understand and support the need to use the fast track process. We want people in Dunedin and the Southern region to have confidence in the project remaining on track, with Outpatients due to open in 2025 followed by Inpatients in 2028.”
Mike Barns says the Ministry is committed to delivering a ‘fit for purpose’ and ‘future-ready’ hospital which can deliver a better health outcome for New Zealanders; greater improving the health services and new models of care.
“Having certainty on the construction timeframes will also help to maximise job opportunities as well as the wider benefits for local businesses. In the post-COVID-19 environment, ensuring this economic stimulus happens is vital,” Mike Barns said.
The COVID-19 Recovery Act can provide two-stage approval processes and that of any approval. It is required from the Minister of the Environment, who can take on board the views from any interest parties including iwi and authorities.
While the act can provide a more streamlined consenting process, this does not specifically mean it is a shortcut in environmental standards. The sustainable management of a natural and physical resource remains a key factor for the most part.
The decision will be made in the first quarter of 2021 on whether to refer the new Dunedin Hospital project to an expert consenting panel.
“The Dunedin Hospital project continues to make good progress. Last week, consent was granted to demolish the Cadbury factory buildings,” says Mike Barns.
“Next week, concept design is expected to receive final approval, and the team will be going to market for the early contractor engagement for the Inpatients Building.”
Image credit: Ministry of Health w/ Permissions
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