Hospital vital in time of flooding

By NEELIMA CHOAHAN

A REPEAT of the 1954 floods will be catastrophic for The Tweed Hospital which lies in the middle of a flood-prone area, Tweed Shire Council administrator Max Boyd has said.

Mr Boyd, one of many prominent personalities speaking out in favour of retaining services at Murwillumbah District Hospital, yesterday cited its hilltop%location as a prime reason why it would be an invaluable asset for the Tweed in time of major flooding. "The Tweed Hospital lies in floodland, while the Murwillumbah hospital is well and truly above the flood zone," Mr Boyd said.

He said the Tweed should be prepared for inevitable major floods. "It is complete madness to%assume it won't flood in the Tweed," he said. "It's not a question of if, but when."

The growing population, Mr Boyd said, combined with the old age of the new residents, could prove to have disastrous results in the event of such a calamity.

However, he said the Murwillumbah hospital would be in a better position to deal with any floods.

"It has a central position and is accessible to the top end of the valley like Uki and Tyalgum," he said.

The long-time resident of the Tweed said he remembered the fury of the floods in 1954, and%a repeat of similar conditions could make roads to Tweed Heads inaccessible.

"I have lived through the biggest flood in living memory," he said.

"It came during the night and we had 23 inches of rain in 24 hours."

"It would be virtually impossible to get the helicopter up in the air in such conditions."

Mr Boyd said it was important to maintain the Murwillumbah hospital.

"I am alarmed, quite frankly, that the hospital would be downgraded in any shape or form," he said.

"For a whole range of reasons, not least being the central location of the hospital, it is important not to let it deteriorate, and if possible to expand its capabilities."

He said he was not opposed in any way to future expansion of the Tweed Heads hospital.

"The growth of The Tweed Hospital is necessary and highly appropriate," he said.

"What we don't want to see is Murwillumbah hospital to be cannibalised by a bigger%hospital."



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