23.5 C
Byron Shire
April 11, 2021

Mullum rallies to keep its hospital site

Latest News

A win for the roughy

The battle for the 'roughy had been a tough road for conservationists and hopefully this win will be the last fight.

Other News

Vehicle sanitisation stations roll out

Enhanced safety measures for point to point transport such as taxis, hire and rideshare vehicles are being rolled out in Byron Bay, Ballina and Lismore with the opening of three free temporary vehicle sanitisation stations.

Kingscliff RPA bringing it all back home

One of the Tweed Shire’s oldest residents’ associations is celebrating a long-awaited return to the Kingscliff Community Hall.

Brunswick Heads surf lifesaver wins gold 

Brunswick Heads surf lifesaver Paul ‘Punchy’ Davis won gold in the 600m paddle board race

In the ditch

Peter Olson, Goonengerry The Suez Canal blockage is just one small part of the Reset Button: unexpected delays, meet ‘just-in-time’ production. You...

Local photographer finalist in National Portrait Prize

Lismore-based photographer R J Poole is one of eighty finalists from over 3,000 entries in this year's Living Memory: National Photographic Portrait Prize.

Sick to my stomach

Gabi Giacomin, Ocean Shores I cannot believe it! We have voted for a Green MP, a Green Council, we have...

Cherry Johnson, left, with her new baby and expecting mum Sylvia Fenwick outside the Mullumbimby Hospital birthing unit last week. Photo David Bradbury
Cherry Johnson, left, with her new baby and expecting mum Sylvia Fenwick outside the Mullumbimby Hospital birthing unit last week. Photo David Bradbury

The Mullumbimby community is rallying this week in a bid to secure the future of the town’s hospital site, including its popular birthing unit, and prevent it being demolished and sold off.

Health authorities say they will consult locals to decide on future uses for the site but say the old hospital is riddled with asbestos, and they would need to recoup  demolition costs with the proceeds of selling it.

The facility will be decommissioned once the new Byron Central Hospital is opened in March next year.

On Thursday a public rally is being held in the town’s civic hall from 7pm, and organisers for the Mullumbimby Hospital Action Group are urging locals to turn out for a say in the future of the land they say was historically gifted for community health use.

‘It’s really important for this community to show up in numbers this Thursday night and voice their determination not to be railroaded by Macquarie Street and (local district area health chief) Chris Crawford into losing this fine building,’ Mr Bradbury told Echonetdaily.

‘It has the life-force of previous and present generations circling through its corridors and can be used to good purposes in a yawning need today for ‘bricks and mortar’ to help our youth, our aged citizens, our homeless, our community, that would be great,’ he said.

Mr Bradbury said many people were angered with the plans to ‘bulldoze the wealthy real estate in the middle of town site and and sell off the to the highest bidder, using the pretext that they have to pay for the demolition and ‘safe’ removal of the asbestos hazard somehow’.

He says ‘if the Sydney pollies and Northern Rivers Health officials have their way, the Mullum birth unit will be reduced to rubble and the land sold off to the highest bidder’.

‘Given that the Suzanne Jamieson birthing unit was a private donation made by a local mum to the community in 1993 and has served so many birthing mums over the last two decades, it seems scandalous that the state government and highly-paid local Health officials who are supposed to serve this community, can sanction bulldozing the unit (Chris Crawford’s latest proposal for the site),’ he said.

‘Then sell the land off to the highest real estate bidder on the pretext that there is an asbestos and health issue in the old hospital.

‘The professional building advice I have is that the asbestos is contained in the roof  and plumbing systems of the main hospital building only and can be worked around. It is not a health issue yet.

‘Asbestos is not an issue in the birthing unit. It is not an issue for the Accident and Emergency wing which was built later than the original hospital.

‘The whole hospital building, rather than being levelled to the ground is part of our history as a community and a renovated building could be used for housing old people or the homeless, women on the run from domestic violence, perhaps a drug and alcohol research centre and a small detox unit to help our local youth or who battling with the Ice and other drug epidemic sweeping over us.

‘The hospital’s future should not be left upto the pollies and bureaucrats to decide without community consultation. It is a community asset and should be respected as such,’ Mr Bradbury said.

Peace and tranquility for new mums outside Mullum hospital's popular birthing unity recently. Photo David Bradbury
Peace and tranquility for new mums outside Mullum hospital’s popular birthing unity recently. Photo David Bradbury

Meanwhile, for new parents Sylvia Fenwick and Elias Johnson, were grateful for the Mullum birthing unity services last week after celebrating the birth of their son Aziah.

Sylvia, 25, said she had a happy pregnancy and check ups with her midwife at Mullum birthing unit and went there to give birth.

But complications set in after an extended four-day labour and Sylvia was transferred to the Tweed Hospital where she safely delivered little Aziah.

Her partner Elias Johnson, who grew up in the Mullum area, wanted to bond with his new son and partner but was not allowed to sleep overnight in their room at the big centralised hospital.

‘It was so hard being told by the Tweed hospital staff that I could not stay with Sylvia and Elias after he was born and after what Sylvia had just been through to give birth,’ Elias said.

Sylvia was brought back to the Mullum birthing unit and Elias, as with other dads, was able to stay with his new family each night and give Sylvia the help and support she needed, including good healthy food bought locally in Mullum.

‘I was so happy when we were able to transfer back to Mullum and be together again overnight with family and friends to visit us easily and support us,’ he said.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Maybe Canberra needs a bit of distraction biff

Mick breathed in but his Cronulla Sharks football jersey struggled to contain his well-insulated six-pack and he held up his hand as he approached Bazza in the front bar of the Top Pub.

Council crews working hard to repair potholes

Tweed Shire Council road maintenance crews are out across the Tweed's road network repairing potholes and other damage caused by the recent prolonged rainfall and previous flood events.

Poor Pauline

Bob Vinnicombe, Sefton A lot of hypocrisy from Labor and The Greens about respect for women. Look at the treatment they dished out to Pauline...

New film celebrates getting back outside

'Free From Lockdown: Back Out in Nature' is a new short film in which a group of disabled and non-disabled performers from the Northern Rivers celebrate being in nature after COVID lockdown.