Barbara Roughan, Kingscliff.
Thousands of Tweed residents objecting to the Kingscliff hospital site are completely in agreement with medical staff in wanting a new, larger hospital for the entire Tweed Shire. Our concern is that at no time were the social and physical impacts on Kingscliff and Cudgen residents taken into account.
Tourists flock to our area for the combined beach and rural atmosphere and the relaxed lifestyle, which would be destroyed by inappropriate commercial development operating around the clock in our little town.
One of the criteria was for a greenfield site. Just how is very productive farming land in Kingscliff, surrounded by housing, considered a greenfield site?
Requests for information on the shortlisted sites have been ignored, thus denying us the opportunity to make informed choices. If the sites were shortlisted they obviously fulfilled many of the necessary criteria, so selecting one of them is surely preferable to choosing from more than 20 other sites!
Misinformation has been rife. Statements such as ‘If we don’t go for the Kingscliff site we’ll lose our hospital’ are completely false. ‘If there are more delays people will lose their lives’ is also false.
The Health Department itself has refused to state clearly that the old Tweed Heads Hospital will close as a public hospital once the new hospital opens, when medical staff have been told it is definitely closing.
The koala colony in the lower area of the Kingscliff site needs to be considered too. Why aren’t the koala group protesting here too? This area is just as important for koalas as Kings Forest, which has plans in place for koala corridors with 22,000 trees to be planted in the immediate future.
When a new town is being planned from scratch, and is going ahead soon whether the hospital there is approved or not, it makes sense to have a totally integrated community built around a comprehensive health precinct. Think of the benefits to the thousands of medical workers who will have lower cost housing and childcare centres available close to their work.