Southland Charity Hospital revealed their concept plans as a tribute to what would have been Blair Vining's 40th birthday today.

The Southland Charity Hospital has leapt several paces closer to becoming a reality after the release of it’s much anticipated concept plans.

Managed by Boyd Wilson and the team at Invercargill-based Bonisch Consultants, the concept plans for the Southland Charity Hospital was an incredible way for the family to honour Blair on his birthday, after Blair lost his battle with bowel cancer in October 2019.

“Marking what would have been Blair’s milestone birthday this year is fraught with sadness,” said wife and fellow charity hospital campaigner, Melissa Vining.
“It’s particularly difficult because of the global crisis we are in with COVID-19, which means we are unable to share this day with our support network of friends and family. Our daughters, Della-May and Lilly, and I are full of gratitude for everybody who has worked so hard to get the Southland Charity Hospital to the point it is now at today. Seeing Blair’s dream start to become a reality means so much to us this year. These concept drawings are a reminder of everything Blair fought for, and they make this project feel much more real.”

The public lent a huge source of support to Blair in his campaign for an end to the “postcode lottery” and his battle to ensure all New Zealanders were able to access adequate cancer treatment, she says.

“Seeing Blair’s dreams one step closer to reality of course reduced me to tears. It’s a reminder of everything he dedicated his life to, and the people who put their hands up to help him. Seeing the logos designed by Phil and the team at Back9 Creative, all the details like the operating theatre and recovery room, the whanau room – all the things Blair dreamed of, in pictures in front of our eyes, brings the girls and I so much joy."

The project was buoyed by the generosity of the ILT, which gifted a building and land package to the Southland Charity Hospital in February.

(Image:Otago Daily Times. The Clifton Inn donated by ILT to be transformed in to the new hospital. Inset: Blair and Melissa Vining).

Boyd Wilson, of Bonisch Consultants, led the preparation of the concept drawings.

“The building gifted by ILT really was a fantastic blank canvas for the Southland Charity Hospital project, and it’s a gift that has really given the project a huge head-start in terms of actually coming to fruition,” he says.

Steps undertaken to date had included assessing the site suitability of a handful of potential buildings for the hospital, meeting with Dr Phil Bagshaw of the Canterbury Charity Hospital to discuss requirements for the facility in the south, and working with the team to develop the concept plans. Next steps would include the preparation of the resource consent application, as well as developing detailed design plans, he says.

The concept for the hospital had paid particular attention to creating a multi-purpose facility designed with the future in mind: for instance, the operating theatre has been designed to the same standard and size as a full-scale operating theatre that could be used for more intensive surgeries, rather than the exploratory procedures the Southland Charity Hospital intends to initially perform. Provision has also been made for a dental suite.

“The needs of the hospital next year may not be the same needs it has in 10 years, so it was vital that we developed a building that would evolve alongside the needs of the community,” Wilson says.