CONCERN: Tweed Mayor Katie Milne (left) and James and Hayley Paddon at a protest outside the site of the new Tweed Valley Hospital at Cudgen.
CONCERN: Tweed Mayor Katie Milne (left) and James and Hayley Paddon at a protest outside the site of the new Tweed Valley Hospital at Cudgen. Scott Powick

Mayor's plea for Tweed

MAYORAL MESSAGE

DEVELOPERS have been attempting to get the Cudgen Plateau rezoned for decades.

But this hospital proposal is the eighth and most aggressive push, pulling at our heart strings with the doctors and the sick and needy.

But the Cudgen Plateau is the only area in the Tweed Shire categorised as Contiguous State Significant Farmland. This is an area of just over 500ha, the size deemed necessary for a State Significant farming precinct.

About a quarter of this area is land banked by developers, making it effectively already undersized, so the loss of this 16ha and the flow-on impacts of the hospital would necessarily put this whole precinct at serious risk.

The fact the State Government, and particularly the National Party, has done everything to belittle the significance of our one and only Significant Farmland precinct is a very telling sign.

It is even more telling that they refuse to investigate an expanded Tweed Heads option or to release details or costs on this option, despite this always being the identified future hospital precinct.

The state plans to override decades of key local and state planning strategies, making up policies on the run and using every loophole in the book to ram this through before Christmas, under the guise of a hospital crisis and with the state election looming.

Why was Tweed hospital left to be redeveloped after the Lismore and Byron hospitals, despite Tweed being the major regional population centre and heading for an overloaded hospital crisis? You have to wonder if this crisis hasn't been manufactured entirely for this Cudgen land takeover.

Strange too that the Tweed Heads Business Chamber president Cr Polglase has raised no concerns whatsoever for the economic loss to Tweed Heads from the shift, or for the lost opportunity to revitalise Tweed Heads, considering the hospital is identified as its main economic driver.

We need an inquiry urgently to clear the air.

I will be putting a motion to the Council meeting calling for an urgent Parliamentary inquiry clear the air.  To achieve an inquiry the support of Labor and the Christian Democrats would be needed. 



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