Mayor joins hospital protest as work begins at Cudgen site
TWEED Shire Council Mayor Katie Milne was among nearly 100 protesters who attempted to block work from starting at the Tweed Valley Hospital site in Cudgen on Monday morning.
The protest comes as the State Government plans to ramp up its work on the site, having officially purchased the land last week.
Police were called to escort protesters from the driveway of the property as they stood in the way of trucks attempting to access the site.
"The start of preliminary works is evidence of the NSW Government's commitment to delivering this state-of-the-art major referral hospital to meet the urgent health needs of the Tweed-Byron community and the growing demand for these services," Tweed MP Geoff Provest said.
"The immediate task is to ensure appropriate environmental control measures are in place and complete the balance of the geotechnical drilling that was not possible while farming operations were underway.
"These works will enable critical path design activities to continue and provide an immediate benefit to the environmental area that is being preserved along the northern boundary of the project site."
But Cr Milne told the Tweed Daily News she would be preparing a motion for an extraordinary council meeting to boycott any local companies associated with the hospital build.
"I'm sure it won't be supported by all councillors but a majority of councillors have been supportive with the community in protecting State Significant Farmland," she said.
"That's what the community has called on us to do, to help with any efforts to boycott the hospital. There's plans for a blockade (at the site) every day they're working here."
Cr Milne has been open about her opposition to the site, having called on the State Government to build the new hospital on the existing site at Tweed Heads, and criticised a lack of community consultation regarding the site choice.
Fencing has since been put up around the site to allow for on-site preliminary works to begin, including:
- Site establishment
- Completion of detailed onsite investigations including geotechnical drilling to inform the detailed design of site infrastructure and the hospital basement and foundations
- Construction of sediment basins and other stormwater controls to reduce the amount of sediment and other pollutants that currently wash into the environmental area
- Weeding of noxious species and other restorative works along the edge of the environmental area
- Removal of the vacant properties and structures and remediation of a small area of asbestos contaminated land.