Old vet clinic makes new start
Clutha Vets $3m refurbishment of its Balclutha veterinarian clinic officially opened last Thursday.
Clutha Vets former chief executive and retired vet Bruce Bissett said the state-of-the-art facility was one of the best in the country.
It was a far cry from the former premises in Clyde St, and the old Gough Gough and Hamer building on the present Wilson Road site that the practice moved into in 1973.
He likened the business, and its various iterations to an old axe, but with new cutting-edge technology. ’’It’s an old axe that’s had two new heads and three new handles.’’
Bissett, now retired to Wanaka, jokingly referred to himself as a ‘‘living fossil in the evolution of Clutha Vets’’. In its nearly 110-year history, and since the last major upgrade in 1994-1995, it had grown from three vets to 18, and employed 45 to 50 support staff.
It was possibly one of the oldest, continually-run practices in New Zealand, and also has a clinic at the nearby south Otago town of Milton.
The co-operatively-owned veterinarian practice, also known as Vet Club, has been in business since 1908, and its history was detailed in A centenary book of the Clutha Veterinary Association, in 2008.
Bissett paid tribute to the dedication and passion shown by staff over the years.
The refurbishment reflected the increased focus on its small-animal practice and retail expansion, as well as providing better facilities for staff and clients.
The clinic also has a specially dedicated area for re-homing kittens.
It was hoped the new facility would be a drawcard to attract the ‘‘right people and students’’ to live and work in the district, he said.
Senior vet John Smart, who has been with the company 41 years, said the 18-month ‘‘future proofing’’ project over-ran, but came within the allocated budget.
He made special mention of the building contractors, and staff and clients who had put up with the inconvenience of a long refurbishment.
Clutha District Mayor Bryan Cadogan, who spoke at the opening and unveiling, said the practice represented favourable regional growth.
‘‘Having this building at the entrance to the town reflects where we want to go.’’
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