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The Chisholm block … Earmarked for a luxurious day spa.

By ROBYN BRISTOW

New life has been breathed into plans for a luxury European-inspired day spa in the former Queen Mary Hospital grounds at Hanmer Springs.

First mooted in late 2015, the concept was awarded funding from the Provincial Growth Fund last week during a visit by the under-secretary for regional economic development, Fletcher Tabuteau.

The $997,000 includes money for the already-completed Conical Thrill hydro-slide and the Cascade Pools at the thermal pools, owned by the Hurunui District Council.

Pools general manager Graeme Abbot says the funding will help re-ignite the luxury spa in the Chisholm block, but investors would still be needed for the project, estimated to cost about $15m five years ago.

The idea had been backed by the community, which is keen to see the former Queen Mary Hospital buildings used rather than sit empty.

Mr Abbot said in 2015 a spa in the Chisholm block would build on visions and discussions already held within the business association several years ago of Hanmer Springs being grown and marketed as an alpine spa village.

Hurunui Mayor Marie Black says the Queen Mary buildings deserved to be “loved”.

“They need an opportunity and for dreams to be realised. This cash injection will perhaps help revisit the feasibility of the project.

“It will take the project one step closer. The buildings continuing in their present state is not an option.”