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Wednesday Dec 07, 2011

Government proposes demolition of historic District Six maternity hospital

District Six claimants are being asked to vote for the demolition of the historic, unused Peninsula Maternity Hospital - where many of them were born - to make way for a new multimillion-rand hospital.

This comes as part of the public participation process on the District Six development.

So far, 250 claimants have voted in favour of the demolition with only one against it.

The Peninsula Maternity Hospital is situated between Constitution, Primrose, Caledon and Mount streets and has not been in use for several years.

But now the Department of Public Works plans to build a new District Six Community Health Centre at a cost of R60 million.

Construction for the world-class health facility is set to start in March 2013.

Up until now, the site has been used as a wardrobe facility by the Artscape Theatre.

Claimant Gadija Luddy was excited at the plan, saying all her children were born at the Peninsula Maternity Hospital.

"I think it will be a good thing for them to demolish it and build a new hospital because we've been hearing that the Woodstock hospital is going to close soon," she said.

"We will never forget that place where so many children were born, but a new hospital is the best thing they can do in District Six," Luddy said.

The proposed new health centre will be an extended-hours facility which will cater for the communities of Salt River, Woodstock, Vredehoek and the central city.

The hospital will also cater for patients currently using the Woodstock Community Hospital and Robbie Nurock Hospital in Buitenkant Street.

Both facilities are closing in the next few years to be consolidated into the new proposed site.

Planners have said, however, that renovating the old building could be problematic because of the potential costs and the physical nature of the building.

Arun Koetsier, who is presenting the proposal to claimants on behalf of the Public Works Department, said: "Most people remember the old hospital as a major symbol in their lives because so many spoke about being born there or giving birth to their children there. We had to ask them if they would be in favour of demolishing this historic place.

"The old building doesn't meet the requirements for the standards of health care the department wants to provide."

Cape Times

 
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