THE state government cash splash across the Bathurst electorate shows no signs of slowing.
The latest funding commitment, announced by Bathurst MP Paul Toole on Friday morning, is $1.2 million to create 62 new parking spaces at the Bathurst Base hospital.
It is money that will be well spent.
When the new hospital opened in 2008, we were told it had been designed to cater for a growing Bathurst region over the next century.
We all know that the hospital building was beset by many problems when the doors first opened - communications failures; ICU and accident and emergency cubicles that were too small for staff to work in effectively; an operating theatre that was too small to be used; and an overflow of raw sewage into the maternity, ICU and surgical wards, to name a few – but, thankfully, those issues have been resolved.
What remains a real problem though is a serious lack of parking around the facility.
Patients, visitors and staff all struggle to find somewhere to park and the problems have spilled over into surrounding residential streets.
And if we are struggling in 2017 to find adequate parking at the hospital, we can only expect it to get worse as the population continues to grow.
So this morning’s announcement will be welcomed by all stakeholders and will add to an impressive list of infrastructure investment across the region in recent years.
We’ve seen $10 million pledged for Velocity Park, $110 million for an upgrade to Bathurst Correctional Centre, $6 million for a new ambulance station, a $100 million highway upgrade at Kelso … the list goes on.
The cynical among us might suggest all that spending has been done with an eye on the 2019 state election, but few voters will be complaining about that.
The Shooters, Farmers and Fishers Party gave The Nationals a wake-up call in Orange last year and the success of Alex Christian - a member of the SFF – in last weekend’s council election suggests the party is not done yet.
Mr Christian says he will not contest the 2019 poll but the SFF has made it clear they want to run a candidate – and want to make an impact.
If the Nationals’ continued spending in our electorate is insurance against that, then bring it on. It doesn’t matter who’s doing the spending, we’re happy to be receiving.