Revealed: Full list of hospital sites examined
NSW Health Infrastructure has released its report revealing the full list of sites examined for the new Tweed Valley Hospital and the comprehensive process undertaken in its decision-making.
The report, published online late Tuesday, comes ahead of a second community meeting due to be held at Cudgen Leagues Club tomorrow night following an outcry by farmers and residents opposed to the proposed 23ha site on prime agricultural land at Kingscliff.
In the Tweed Valley Hospital site selection report, the government outlines the site selection process undertaken by NSW Health Infrastructure in conjunction with Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSW LHD) which includes the examination of more than 35 sites across the shire.
The report was released following debriefing sessions with all stakeholders, including Medical Staff Council and staff forums at The Tweed Hospital and Murwillumbah District Hospitals; Tweed Shire Council senior planning officers, Mayor and Councillors; and local community group organisers.
"The process has been overseen by an independent probity auditor and has followed robust NSW Government requirements for the selection of land for public infrastructure, informed by due diligence investigations undertaken by expert independent advisers,” the report says.
It outlines the background of the project, explaining the existing Tweed Hospital is at capacity with the 4ha site "insufficient to support the long term healthcare needs of the Tweed community.”
It further states the 2017 flood, which inundated much of the shire, showed the existing hospital was cut off to the growing population centres south of the river, and would need to be evacuated under a 'Probable Maximum Flood' scenario.
The report shows around 20 sites - including the chosen one - were submitted as part of the Expressions of Interest (EOI) process launched in August 2017, with an additional 15 sites also examined by the department.
These were separated into eight different areas and included:
- Area A: Tweed Heads - two sites including the existing Tweed Hospital and another site on the border near the Gold Coast Airport;
- Area B: Tweed Heads West - two sites ruled out due to flooding and proximity to airport;
- Area C: Tweed Heads South (west) - three sites ruled out due to flooding, significant upgrade to Kirkwood Rd interchange required and Aboriginal heritage;
- Area D: Tweed Heads South (east) - one site ruled out due to significant upgrade to Kirkwood Rd interchange required and flooding;
- Area E: Terranora and Banora Point - nine sites ruled out due to impact on surrounding streets, steep gradient;
- Area F: Chinderah - one site north of Maleleuca station; four sites considered near Chinderah and Tweed Coast Rd interchange ruled out due to flooding and lack of urban environment;
- Area G: Duranbah - seven sites at Duranbah - all prime agricultural land; two sites at Kings Forest; four sites at Cudgen Plateau in addition to one selected
- Area H: Clothiers Creek Rd interchange, plus others outside of site selection area ruled out due to lack of urban infrastructure, flooding, Aboriginal and koala impacts.
Interestingly, the list shows four other sites on the Cudgen Plateau were examined before the chosen site was selected.
Sites north of the river were ruled out due to the potential of flooding which would cut off the growing population south of the river, whereas those north of the river would have access to major hospitals on the Gold Coast if necessary.
Tweed MP Geoff Provest said the report showed the "due diligence” that had gone into the selection process, with "probably the best minds in Australia in terms of building hospitals” involved in the decision.
"At the end of the day there is no perfect site for it, but this is the better of all sites,” Mr Provest said.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that is going to set up the Tweed for the next 40 to 50 years. This report shows a true diligence and the fact anyone who put their hand up in the EOI was duly looked at from all different angles.”
Mr Provest said the Tweed would be in "crisis mode” within four years if work on the new hospital did not begin.
Pop-up information booths will be set up at shopping centres around the Tweed and a community steering committee established in coming weeks.
* A community meeting on the issue, attended by Mr Provest and other elected representatives and officers from NSW Health Infrastructure will be held at Cudgen Leagues Club on Thursday, April 26, from 7pm.