Hospital boost welcomed

Florist Bella Fernandez from Flowers on Main Pakenham. 241246_07 Photos: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Shelby Brooks

Businesses adjacent to the proposed site of the Pakenham Community Hospital appear hopeful the build will increase revenue and rejuvenate their end of town.

Rachel Tran, manager of Two Fat Ducks restaurant on John Street, said she thought the hospital would be “extremely beneficial” for the business.

“Having increased foot traffic could be good for us,” she said.

“You’d have people coming to visit at the hospital or take away for nurses.

“At the same time, the car parking here is crazy.”

Ms Tran said since Woolworths closed in 2019 business had dropped around 70 per cent.

“But we survive with loyal customers and takeaway delivery,” she said.

Priceline Pharmacy, which is currently located in the building complex slated for the hospital build, is moving across Pakenham Place in March next year in a new concept store.

Manager Sue Etherington said the hospital would be “amazing” for business.

“And it will bring this part of the town alive,” she said.

Local florist Katie Effern of Flowers on Main Pakenham on John Street said seeing an increase in business might depend on what type of hospital it will be.

“It could be good for business, though the hospital might have its own gift shop too,” she said.

“People like bright flowers to brighten up the room, or get well balloons and teddies.”

Pakenham local Yvonne Blackwood, who was doing her shopping on Friday 18 June on John Street said she thought the hospital would be a “boost” for the town.

“With lots of things disappearing from the community, it’s nice to see something coming,” she said.

The news of the hospital sites comes within months of the revamp announcement for Pakenham Place in the same car park space.

In April, German giant Aldi revealed plans to move into what was Target at Pakenham Place as part of extensive redevelopment plans for the retail precinct.

The 15,849sqm NLA centre revamp will also include a Coles, Liquorland, Toyworld, a medical centre, around 30 speciality stores, and several mini majors and pad sites including a Woolworths petrol station and a Priceline Pharmacy.

The 60,000sqm site includes on-grade parking for more than 700 vehicles.

The site developer Leaf Corporation/Banco Group joint venture has been contacted for comment.

Salvos Op Shop store manager Jane Thorrington said she was excited for the area to be redeveloped.

“We’re really really excited for this end of town to not just be the “other” end but to be “the” end,” she said.

Cardinia Ratepayers and Residents Association secretary Cheryl Billing Smith said the build would have a positive impact on some local retailers but still believed the hospital was going to be built at the wrong spot.

“Takeaway food will do well but again is a hospital that’s going to rejuvenate that end of town really what we need?” she said.