Port Stephens Koalas hospital clear winner in NSW Government's My Community Project funding

SUPPORT: Port Stephens Koalas carer Sue Swain with rescued koala Marie at the One Mile sanctuary. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts
SUPPORT: Port Stephens Koalas carer Sue Swain with rescued koala Marie at the One Mile sanctuary. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

It's been a hugely successful fortnight for Port Stephens Koalas (PSK).

On August 25 construction of the $7.6 million koala hospital and sanctuary was launched at One Mile, followed a few days later with a $1.6 million funding grant approved by Port Stephens Council.

Last week PSK was voted the NSW Government's 'My Community Project' winner for Port Stephens.

PSK secretary Ron Land said the $200,000 windfall would be used to fit out the hospital with an operating theatre, four intensive care units, training facilities and a morgue.

PSK received 4177 votes, more than 2500 votes ahead of both the Anna Bay All Abilities BMX Pump Track and wheelchair modified van for Sunnyfield (Nelson Bay).

Port Stephens MP Kate Washington with Port Stephens Koalas president Carmel Northwood at the sod turning ceremony for the sanctuary.

Port Stephens MP Kate Washington with Port Stephens Koalas president Carmel Northwood at the sod turning ceremony for the sanctuary.

"It is very gratifying to know that the community of Port Stephens has voted us number one in Port Stephens. We are over the moon and want to thank both the business community and residents for their support," Mr Land said.

State MP Kate Washington congratulated the PSK volunteers for winning the popular vote in Port Stephens and gaining the second highest votes in NSW behind Hornsby Men's Shed.

"The $200,000 grant to fit out the koala hospital will allow for 24/7 triage, treatment and inpatient care for ill and injured koalas," she said.

In late 2016, Ms Washington secured a $124,000 grant which provided the seed funding for the hospital project.

Having since secured state and local government funding, the hospital is due for completion in May 2020, creating an essential lifeline for injured koalas as well as a new tourism offering for Tomaree.

"The vote proves once again that Port Stephens residents care deeply about our environment, particularly the survival of our local koala population, and the massive amount of votes shows they have the full backing of our community.

"The koala hospital will be an important care, research and tourism facility that we can all be proud of. I thank all of the community groups who worked hard to see their project succeed - all projects were worthy of support."

Thee Anna Bay project received 1365; Sunnyfield received 1316 while the Shoal Bay Public's 'Improved Access and Revitalisation Plan' received 1274 and the bus shelter at Seaham School Bus Interchange finished with 1191 votes.

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