Council calls for new site for Tweed Valley Hospital
TWEED Shire Council has slammed the chosen location of the new Tweed Valley Hospital in Cudgen, calling for an alternative site to be found.
Council on Thursday voted 4-3 to write to the New South Wales Government requesting "in the strongest terms” that the chosen site, which sits on a 23ha parcel of prime agricultural land, be excluded from the selection process.
Mayor Katie Milne said while nobody disputed the need for the hospital, "the location is very much in contention” because it sits on State Significant Farmland.
"This motion signifies that council does not support the proposed location at Kingscliff,” Cr Milne said.
"This council has had a long history of supporting the farmers on this land and being instrumental in getting this land under State Significance, under the leadership of former mayor Max Boyd.
"Having the hospital on this farmland is of great concern to all of us.
"We want it to be in the right location. It's going to be difficult to find the right location. (But this site) should not be on the list of possible sites.
"If we mark this off, then we can look at other sites. They might not be the best site for the hospital but we have to look at what's best for the whole community.”
But Councillor Pryce Allsop, who voted against the motion, said he believed the State Government had exhausted all other potential site options, after council was briefed by Health Infrastructure earlier this week.
"We scrutinised the available options for a location for a hospital in the Tweed Valley,” he said.
"I was really hoping that something may be available that ticked a lot of boxes. But there wasn't a better site than this position. It ticks about 90 of the 100 boxes. They mentioned the criteria to us and this spot allowed it to be the one.”
However, Cr Milne said she disagreed with Cr Allsop, and took away from the meeting with Health Infrastructure that other sites were available.
Meanwhile, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the land, which was offered to the State Government voluntarily by the land owner, was the best site for the hospital.
"It seems to me the community doesn't understand the owner of the property came to the government and said come buy this land, and put a very substantial price on it,” he said.
Cudgen farmer Hayley Paddon, who is leading the charge against the site, was pleased with council's support. She is planning a second community meeting next week, with a date yet to be confirmed.