PHILLIP Island and Community Learning Centre (PICAL) continues to hold concerns regarding the relocation of their facilities and new site.

PICAL will eventually be relocated from its current site at 56/58 Church Street, Cowes to allow for the development of the new Phillip Island Community Hospital.

According to a statement released last week by PICAL’s president, Jeff Floyd, the final agreed plan involves moving part of their operations to Warley Avenue and part to Blue Gum Reserve in Cowes.

However, PICAL stated that despite frequent requests to Bass Coast Shire, it was not until early April that the shire advised they were on track to deliver PICAL’s new building at Warley Avenue by November this year.

The shire also advised they are working to deliver PICAL’s community garden at Blue Gum Reserve and space for Boomerang Bags and training room at the former CFA building, at the same time.

“PICAL still has not got a clear, detailed timetable for either of these moves but, since receiving the advice from council in April, PICAL has been hard at work on the planning for our November move to ensure that our services to the community are not disrupted,” the organisation stated.

“We are also planning for a big fundraiser auction in July and an ‘end of an era’ party in October at our current site.”

According to PICAL, Bass Coast Health (BCH) and the Victorian Health Building Authority had also indicated they want PICAL to leave its current site for temporary premises by August/September this year.

PICAL stated while they understand the pressure on BCH to begin works on the new community hospital, their current facilities are extremely busy.

“It simply cannot countenance a temporary and highly disruptive move for a 10-12 week period into some scattered offices,” PICAL stated.

“This is also putting aside the acute shortage in community spaces available on the Island which has meant that PICAL has had to absorb several other local services, including the Cowes Library service, and the need for PICAL’s core services to be grouped together, not to mention the waste of public funds.”

BCH CEO Jan Child said they were working with the shire, PICAL and the Victorian Health Building Authority to progress the community hospital, while respecting the existing tenancy agreement in place with PICAL.

“BCH acknowledges and appreciates the extraordinary contribution of the PICAL service, including its staff and volunteers,” Ms Child said.

“We are working together to achieve service continuity for PICAL’s vital services, whilst also exploring ways to progress the much-needed community hospital.

“As the managing health service, BCH is very keen to make sure the Phillip Island Community Hospital is delivered on time, because we know the demand for cancer care, dialysis, surgery, and urgent care on the Island is unprecedented.

“The planning for Phillip Island Community Hospital is progressing well and we will be ready to commence works later this year.”