Council calls for proof hospital won't harm animals
TWEED Shire Council is calling for proof that threatened species found on the site of the $534 million Tweed Valley Hospital at Cudgen will be protected during the building process.
The NSW Planning Department has requested the council provides feedback on its Secretary's Environmental Assessment Requirements, as the department determines what material is required for the new hospital.
The council supported the draft SEARs submission at Thursday's meeting but made several changes to the original document, including a provision that the government makes efforts to protect the endangered wildlife on the hospital site in any future development application.
The animals listed included the water mouse, the wallum sedge frog, Mitchell's rainforest snail, cattle egret, southern black-throated finch, the Australian grey-headed flying fox and koalas.
"The application needs to demonstrate that the federally threatened species that occur on the hospital site... and their habitat will be protected in perpetuity," the council's submission states.
The council also raised concern about the controversial decision to build the hospital on State Significant Farmland at Cudgen. Earlier this year the council announced it opposed the Cudgen site, with some councillors including Mayor Katie Milne preferring to keep the hospital at Tweed Heads.
"This is an extremely unusual application seeking to commence significant Stage One works on a project which by even the most superficial analysis will have bulk, scale, social, traffic and economic impacts that utterly overwhelm the community on which it is imposed," the council document states.
"Their submission further concedes it disregards the Tweed Heads health precinct identified in the Tweed Local Environmental Plan and is contrary to the draft Kingscliff Locality Plan. This is a remarkable litany of non-compliance for one project."
The council's submission argued the government's plan "seeks to evade extensive non-compliance issues".
"Given the extraordinary digression of this application from adopted public policy, it is argued that it should not enjoy the exemption from prior public scrutiny conferred by Section 4.22 of the EP&A Act."