'Mayor needs to stop dividing community over hospital'
TWEED Shire Councillor Pryce Allsop has criticised Mayor Katie Milne over plans to "blackmail" businesses involved in the Tweed Valley Hospital build, saying she needs to stop "dividing our community over and over".
Cr Milne controversially agreed to back a motion to blacklist local contractors and businesses involved in the hospital build during a protest against the site on Monday, but later backtracked after protesters retracted their call for the boycott.
However, Cr Milne has not backed down on the idea and said in a statement yesterday the boycott would have helped prevent "even worse economic and social impacts" from the hospital.
Last night, Cr Allsop said in a Facebook post he disagreed with "blackmailing businesses to boycott construction" and council could be "legally challenged through any open tender processes".
"It could mean that on occasions we would be unable to accept any tenders, companies would be asked to provide a disclose on their part in the hospital's works or input into the facilitation of construction or the supply of products to the hospital," he said.
"If this was somehow overlooked or a new company was formed to evade the disclosure, again another considerable issue. We would possibly see a situation not unlike insider trading whereas a company might find they are the only business eligible for tendering, then placing tenders well above the competitive price.
"It is ridiculous. The intent of the mayor's scheme is riddled with holes. Not sure if the Mayor understands that dividing our community over and over isn't healthy particularly over extended periods, things can become nasty, we see this time and time again. I would love to see our Mayor being the type of person that shares the information that is shared with her. Too often I believe information is withheld when it facilitates the protesting power."
Cr Allsop said he had met with Health Infrastructure six times and they had "always provided open and transparent communications".
"It is sad that the people fighting for the hospital relocation are being offered false hope in relation to the possibility of relocation outcomes," he said.
"The hospital is going to be built on its chosen site and it will be an absolute asset to the Tweed Valley. The architecture is promising to be nothing less than brilliant and to be fitting with the Tweed and the site's landscape.
"Please see your way past the smoke screens. The fire will eventually go out on the relocate action. I mean no disrespect, you have all been passionate. This is the site that won the attention of all the experts, after all the criteria was analysed this site is the very best."
Cr Allsop said the hospital development would use the farming landscape to assist the patient healing process and would "be very considerate of everything Kingscliff".
He said the hospital was a "victory for our region" and would be in a "class of its own for health facilities".
"This will be a great new facility. The Tweed Valleys hospital development team are looking at ways to work with local farms," he said.
"The farm landscapes are to be part of the hospital patients healing process as are the numerous aspects of the Kingscliff sites environmental blessings."