View Comments

The State Government plans to spend $275,000 developing a plan to restore the heritage-listed site used for the former Sunset hospital in Dalkeith.

Premier Colin Barnett announced today the money will be used this year and next to form a plan to restore the 8.5ha site.

Mr Barnett has flagged arts, cultural and community projects as possible uses for the disused river-front site which has been vacant since 1995.

Other potential uses, he said, included parklands with playgrounds and barbecues and creating an art gallery, function centre and cafe using the existing buildings.

“This is a truly unique heritage site that has been neglected for too long,” he said.

Ideas being flown around already are parklands with playgrounds and barbecues, and using the existing buildings for places such as an art gallery, function centre and a café.

The University of Western Australian and City of Nedlands will also have the option of using a building on site on the condition that they contribute to the restoration of the area up to the heritage standards.

A 1,500sqm piece of land on the edge of Iris Avenue will be sold off and the proceeds, which are estimated to be up to $10 million, will be put towards restoring sewerage, power and water, and re-roofing the buildings.

“This will allow the Government to protect the buildings from falling further into disrepair,” Mr Barnett said.

“The buildings could then be progressively restored to heritage standard throughout and leased to community organisations on the condition they contribute to the buildings’ conservation.”

Mr Barnett said that the key element of the plan is to make sure that there is unrestricted access to the river foreshore which borders the heritage site.

He said that there have been many kinds of proposals for the site over the years but that they have “failed to capture its significant heritage and cultural potential.”