Work has begun on the remodelling of Coffs Harbour’s old ambulance station, with plans to transform it into a dental centre.
Work has begun on the remodelling of Coffs Harbour’s old ambulance station, with plans to transform it into a dental centre. Leigh Jensen

Dental practice set for approval

COFFS Harbour’s old district ambulance station is set to become the city’s largest dental centre if plans submitted to Coffs Harbour City Council are approved.

The new owner of the site, Coffs Harbour dentist Dr Scott Geddes, has applied to the council for a variation on the development application for a medical centre on the 1500- square-metre CBD site, which was approved two years ago for the previous owners.

Dr Geddes said his plans for the $3 million project included eight dental surgeries, two consultation rooms; a large reception area for adults and a separate area for children; a sterilising area and office.

He said the old ambulance superintendent’s residence would be demolished to make way for 20 off-street parking spaces, but the external brick structure of the original ambulance station would be retained, although the interior would be substantially remodelled.

Demolition and asbestos removal work is already in progress, with building work expected to start early next year, aiming for a completion date between July and September.

Dr Geddes, who built The Dental Centre on the corner of Albany and Earl streets in 1996 to cater for three dentists and a part-time staff member, said they would be able to expand the scope of services offered in the state-of-the-art new centre, which would include digital x-ray and photography, computerised equipment and a recovery area so they could offer sedation services for nervous patients.

The site, on the corner of Market and Grafton streets, was vacated by the NSW Ambulance Service in early 2002, when the district ambulance base was moved to the Coffs Harbour Health Campus.

The Ambulance Service estimated the total cost of the move at $1,286,000.

The old station was sold at auction for $302,000 in August 2002, after work was completed on removing fuel bowsers and tanks.

Colliers International agent Steve Little, who was involved in the negotiations for the redevelopment, said he was pleased to see value being added to such an important site.

“If the existing use had not been maintained and the DA had not been acted on, I believe the site would have lapsed back to being residential,” Mr Little said.

The site faces the Coffs Harbour Fire Station across Market Street and is almost surrounded by motels.

Businessman and developer Rodger Pryce last week raised the problem of the redevelopment restrictions imposed by the limited area of the Coffs Harbour CBD.

The old Coffs Harbour ambulance station served Coffs Harbour for almost 40 years – from December 16, 1963, until early 2002.



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