There’s room to move for physios now they’ve left the CBD | Western Advocate


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STAFF at Bathurst Physiotherapy and Sports Injuries Centre are enjoying the chance to stretch out in their new workplace in the city’s emerging health precinct. And practice principals John Roberts and Luke Howard say the new premises, in what was once a skating rink, is proving handy as they change their work practices in response to COVID-19. Mr Roberts said Bathurst Physiotherapy had been in Russell Street in the CBD since 1997, but had grown too big for the building and the available parking. READ ALSO: Bathurst Physiotherapy gets green light for new premises “We were looking for an opportunity for two or three years for an appropriate building,” he said. “We had looked at this one [building] before and we had issues with zoning, so we approached council and they were really helpful.” Bathurst Regional Council agreed in July last year to change its planning rules to allow the site at the bottom of Mitre Street to be converted to a health facility. The land was zoned RE2 Private Recreation Zone, but a report to councillors by environmental, planning and building services director Neil Southorn recommended a change to the Bathurst Regional Local Environment Plan (LEP) to allow a potential health precinct to form near the hospital and new Bathurst ambulance station. Mr Roberts said the building started as a skating rink, became an indoor cricket centre and then was the Pollett’s Martial Arts Centre. “So it was just basically a real shell – like a warehouse, almost,” he said. READ ALSO: Meet the minutes men who are more than happy to set the pace Havenhand Mather Architects turned the vision into something more concrete and then the construction work began – and in quick time, because Bathurst Physiotherapy had to be out of the Russell Street building. “Hines Constructions developed a 600 square metre building in four months,” Mr Roberts said. “It was a massive, mammoth effort: working over Christmas, working weekends. The painters used to be in here until midnight most nights. They did a fantastic job. “The idea is to have a facility that not only serves our purposes now, but something that we can use and adapt as the physio profession changes. Because it’s undergoing a lot of rapid change with the NDIS [National Disability Insurance Scheme] and also undergoing a lot of rapid change right now with the virus.” The new building has a larger gym and a purpose-built pilates room (though pilates classes will be moved online in response to COVID-19) and each physio has their own room. Two more physiotherapists were employed as the business made the move, Mr Howard said. The practice principals said one of their short-term aims was to keep people with aches, sprains or muscular conditions out of the emergency department and GP waiting rooms as the city deals with coronavirus. Bathurst Physiotherapy is only using half of the building and has the other half, also 600 square metres, for lease. Mr Roberts said there had been some early inquiries about the lease.

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