Well known Mullumbimby local, documentary filmmaker David Bradbury, has this morning locked onto an excavator at the old Mullumbimby Hospital site and erected a sign reading ‘Save Our Hospital’.
Mr Bradbury, who is spearheading a last-ditch community bid to save the hospital buildings, was in conversation with policemen this morning about his situation.
They have now left the site after handing him a fine.
The hospital, which was sold to Byron Shire Council for $1, is set to be demolished due to asbestos contamination, at a cost to Council of $3 million.
Mr Bradbury says the buildings could be remediated and retained for a fraction of the sum – although Council denies this.
He told Echonetdaily by phone this morning that he was ready for the long haul, despite a weather forecast for the high 30s and having just half a bottle of water left.
‘I’ve been in hotter water both politically and physically than this in the past,’ he said.
Mr Bradbury said earlier that, ‘Council was only given the hospital for $1 if they agreed to demolish the site using the Tweed-based contractor the state government had already signed the contract with’.
‘So we had no option but to go ahead with the destruction model, based on the asbestos excuse. A poisoned chalice handed to us which has now indebted the community and ratepayers to the tune of $3m plus interest. without so much as a public meeting or discussion to give us a chance to agree or disagree to that,’ he said.
‘And all we get is a level block of ground with all the broken bricks and rumble shipped to faraway Ipswich or Brisbane for deposit because we have no such facility here in northern NSW.
Awaiting a response
‘Why won’t Ben Franklin meet with Gil Lomath [a long-time hospital supporter] and the women of the hospital committee?’ he queried.
Mr Bradbury said this morning that police had given him a $300 fine and court appearance notice.
They have now left the site and police rescue experts are said to be on their way to remove the neck lock.
‘I’ve told them that I am prepared to remove it if (Byron mayor) Simon Richardson will come here and tell me why Council has no option but to demolish these buildings. Otherwise they will have to cut me out.
He added that the CEO of the Tweed-based demolition contractors had offered to speak to him if he removed the lock but he declined.
A Byron Shire Council spokesperson previously told Echonetdaily, ‘that the asbestos contamination of the Mullumbimby Hospital was ‘well known’ and ‘has been documented over many years’.
‘As part of the investigations into the future use of the old hospital site, which was purchased from NSW Health in December 2018, Council looked at the possible salvage of the buildings but three specialist building and environmental safety consultants recommended the majority of the structures posed a high risk to users,’ the spokesperson said.
Mr Bradbury is calling for a public meeting on January 31 from 6pm at the Mullum Services Club to discuss a stay of execution for the Mullum hospital, which is expected to be demolished soon.
He says, ‘it’s an environmental criminal act to destroy a perfectly solid, good building which can serve the immediate needs of our community. With the $3m the Council is costing ratepayers, it is destroying the building and leaving us with nothing more than a flat levelled piece of prime real estate in the heart of Mullum. And no moneys to build anything on the site are guaranteed. We’ve already seen what happened with 166 Stuart Street and the same is most likely for Lot 22 if Council has its way to rezone it from a flood zone to “housing”.’
For more visit Facebook pages for Frontline Films or David Bradbury.