Initial sketch: An artist's impression of the hospital

The developer of an in-dependent surgical hospital next to the Queenstown Country Club hopes to start construction in March.

Sanderson Group chairman Fraser Sanderson says he hopes a resource consent variation to build the $20 million facility, filed in August, will be approved by the end of the year.

The project was at the final design stage, and working drawings were being produced.

“Everyone’s working flat out on it at the moment.

“We’re very confident. The mayor, the council and the community want this hospital … it’ll be an amazing facility.”

The single-level hospital will be built just south of the retirement village, overlooking Shotover Country, on a site originally consented for the village’s gym and swimming pool.

When it’s completed – expected to be in late 2021 – Sanderson Group will lease the hospital to joint venture partners Southern Cross Hospitals and Central Lakes Trust.

Southern Cross will manage the facility, and offer elective surgical procedures expected to include endoscopy, general surgery, gynaecology, dental, orthopaedic, urology, plastic surgery and ear, nose and throat.

Meanwhile, a group of bigwigs led by Health Minister David Clark turned up for tea and cakes at the official opening of the $9.3m upgrade of Lakes District Hospital last Friday.

The long-awaited upgrade means the public hospital now boasts a new emergency department, CT scanner, waiting area, triage and consulting areas, a medical students’ training room, plaster bay and decontamination area, as well as new heating and cooling systems.