The Tweed Heads Hospital
The Tweed Heads Hospital SCOTT POWICK

Former mayor questions Tweed hospital site

ONE of the Tweed's longest-serving leaders is appealing to the NSW Government not to sacrifice the valuable red soils of the Cudgen Plateau for a new hospital.

Max Boyd, who served as mayor on the Tweed Council from 1964-2005, has issued a public plea appealing for the valuable Cudgen agricultural land to be preserved.

A decision on the location of the new $534million greenfield hospital is expected to be made within weeks, after an extensive tender process, which attracted more than 20 submissions from local landowners.

The new site is expected to be eight to 16ha in size - double the existing hospital - and open within five years.

Mr Boyd, who lodged a submission outlining his concerns with Charter Keck Cramer (the company engaged to run due diligence on the site), said there were few places the hospital could be built on the Tweed Coast that were large enough, accessible to all emergency services and in a flood-free zone.

With his extensive knowledge of the area and further research, Mr Boyd said he had reached an unfortunate conclusion:

"The only area that I fear may be considered is the Cudgen Plateau,” he said.

"I fear this because it may appear to be the easy solution.

"It has a long history of opposition to development by Tweed Shire Council because it was identified by the state as being land of state significance following a protracted period of investigation, consultation and review by a project team of 10 members, of which I was a member, and which commenced its protracted enquiry and ultimate recommendation in July 2002.”

Mr Boyd said he was aware of four projects proposed for the Cudgen Plateau in the past that had all failed due to the area's environmental significance.

These included proposals to build a new university campus, a new church which the council opposed successfully in court, a major shopping centre on a farm within the land zoned as State Significance and, more recently, a plan had reached an advanced stage to build a new police station before authorities when made aware of its zoning and took no further action.

"It is my fervent hope that the State authorities will respect their own forward planning and retain this magnificent parcel of agricultural land for future generations and do not allow it to be covered by buildings,” Mr Boyd said.

"So much of the red volcanic soils along the coast in Redland Shire to our north have been lost forever.”

Leda Holdings, owner of the proposed estate of Kings Forest just south of Cudgen, is believed to have expressed interest in the hospital being built on its land.

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