The furore created by the selection of prime farmland for the future site if the new Tweed Valley Hospital has led a new level community consultation and engagement from the government and Health Infrastructure.
‘We are pleased that the request for feedback on the proposed site and the nomination of alternative sites is receiving a strong response from the community,’ Sam Sangster, chief executive, Health Infrastructure said.
‘More than 100 submissions have been received since the process commenced in late-April, with a broad range of community views expressed on the proposed site as well as nearly 20 alternative sites nominated for further consideration,’ he said.
The current community consultation process is being run to help ensure that construction of the brand new, major referral hospital occurs on the best available site. Community submissions close at 5pm on 14 June 2018.
Meeting the criteria
However, Tweed councillor Pryce Allsop has pointed out that there are a wide rang of criteria to consider when selecting a site from planning considerations to the provision of locally available accommodation, childcare, and eateries.
‘When you have someone who is being treated for cancer they might need to bring a carer or family members with them. They will need places to stay and eat,’ said Mr Allsop.
‘The current site does meet all the criteria. It is above the flood level, it is close to most arterial roads and it is central to our population, particularly when you consider the arrival of new developments like Kings Forest and Dunloe Park.
‘The feedback from the community has been mixed. Many people from Cudgen are opposed but it is supported by many others.’
While recognising that the current site is proposed on state significant farmland Mr Allsop said that this needed to be balanced against the need for the new hospital.
However, as previously reported by Echonetdaily some people believe that there is an element of land banking in the area by some developers who see this as an opportunity to re-zone the farmland for future development.
Community drop-in sessions are being held at the project office throughout the consultation period, as well as pop-up information booths at local venues across the region to provide information to the community on the site selection process, including the key features of the proposed site and the key considerations for other areas investigated across the region.
Site investigations on and around the currently proposed site will also be taking place over the coming weeks as part of further due diligence on this site. These investigations will be undertaken by independent, specialist consultants. The investigations will be non-invasive and will not damage any crops or impact farming activities on the site.
Mr Sangster said these studies will provide further information and confirmation of the challenges, opportunities and timeframes associated with the proposed site for comparison against alternative sites nominated through the current community consultation process.
Find out more and confirm a time to attend a drop-in session by contacting the project team on 1800 992 634.
Further information on the project and details regarding the submission of feedback on the proposed site and nomination of alternative sites can be found on the project website.