A call to stop work on the new Tweed Valley Hospital site has been made by Greens state candidate for Tweed, Bill Fenelon, amid allegations that the decision to move the hospital site away from the current location in Tweed Heads was done on a ministerial whim. The call comes following a meeting with local Cudgen farmers Hayley and Jim Paddon who are part of the local action group Relocate Tweed Valley Hospital (RTVH).
According to RTVH, ‘The decision to move the hospital away from Tweed Heads is simply the Health Minister’s personal overruling of the Planning Minister’s 2017 North Coast Regional Plan, and neither the Council or the public were consulted before the announcement.’
Expand current site
Mr Fenelon is calling for support to return to the original decision to expand the Tweed Hospital at its current site, rather than to continue with the more recent plan to build a new nine storey hospital at either the Cudgen site near Kingscliff or at the Kings Forest site.
‘What should be a bipartisan decision to provide quality healthcare has degenerated into unhelpful political point-scoring,’ said Mr Fenelon commenting on the ongoing ‘war of words’ between sitting Nationals Member for Tweed Geoff Provest and Labor candidate Craig Elliot.
‘If they really had the community’s best interests at heart, they would stop bickering and reach a sensible solution that would bring the community together,’ he said.
‘That will never happen if a hospital is built either on the National party’s proposed Cudgen site or Labor’s proposed Kings Forest site. The only advantage that Kings Forest has is that it would not be located on rich, fertile, red soil. All the other impacts apply to both locations, that is, increased traffic congestion, loss of amenity, giving a green light to high rise and over-development, which the community vehemently opposes,’ said Mr Fenelon.
‘The clear solution is to retain and expand the current Tweed Heads Hospital north of the river. There’s ample room for expansion and the zoning already allows for high rise. On top of that, the majority of the Shire’s population reside in Tweed Heads, so it makes perfect sense to keep the hospital where it is.’
Call for investigation
Tweed Shire Council has called for an investigation into the hospital site selection process and the release of all the documents on the shortlisted hospital sites, as well as the option of expanding the existing site. Bill Fenelon is calling for the works at the Cudgen hospital site to stop immediately until the outcome of this investigation has been fully assessed.