Dailan Pugh, Byron Bay.
I agree that the old Byron hospital has significant potential to continue to contribute to the well being of the Byron community as some form of social and emergency accommodation, or for other community uses. Let’s not lose it.
The Murwillumbah floods certainly highlighted the need for emergency accommodation. Ideas for a women’s refuge and drop-in centre for homeless people could be accommodated within the existing facility. It has lots of potential.
Though I don’t agree that we should take responsibility for it from the government and pay $10 million for the privilege of doing so, let alone hundreds of thousands more refurbishing it.
Byron Council is already sinking under its infrastructure burden and has one hospital site to redevelop; Council doesn’t need another.
I think uses like emergency accommodation, women’s refuges and drop-in centres are rightly the responsibility of the state government and they have money from selling off community housing in Byron that could go into refurbishing the hospital for such purposes.
What we need is a government commitment to retain it as a community facility and a steering committee with appropriate agency and community representatives established to identify suitable uses.