VANDALS have damaged the old Walcha Hospital for years, and Walcha mayor Eric Noakes wants things to change.
The hospital closed in June 2007 when a modern, multi-purpose service opened on a different site, and since then, it's served as an "eyesore" for the town.
Cr Noakes has written to Minister for Property Melinda Pavey about the building in an attempt to change things.
In his letter, he noted that "all glass windows have been broken, trespassers and squatters frequent the facility, and much of the interior of the facility has been destroyed".
"In addition to this, there is evidence of a significant amount of disturbed asbestos on the site," Cr Noakes said.
"The hospital stands on a hill overlooking Walcha and is a focal point from much of the town."
The building is still under Hunter New England Health (HNEH) control, but there is an Aboriginal land claim over the site, the health service has confirmed.
HNEH executive director of rural and regional health services, Susan Heyman, said this claim "remains with the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment".
"Hunter New England Local Health District is working with all parties to explore potential options to finalise the claim," Ms Heyman said.
"The district is maintaining the hospital and grounds as safely and securely as possible."
But Cr Noakes said more needed to be done, because "the whole town is up in arms over the situation" and they would "love to have an outcome for it".
"It becomes an attraction for people to wreck it and there's always bad behaviour around it," he told the Leader.
"It sits on a prominent position in Walcha and it's really just an eyesore, it's not getting any better."
He said the local police did a drive-by of the site "minimum once daily", and were constantly responding to call-outs to the site in relation to violence, vandalism, malicious damage, driving complaints, drug activity, theft and other offences.
"In its current state, the site imposes a heavy burden on our already overloaded local community police force," he said.
"Speaking on behalf of our community, we are advocating for action and a resolution."
Cr Noakes said council was waiting on a response from Ms Pavey.
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