The team behind the push to relocate the proposed Tweed Valley Hospital away from its planned site on state significant farmland are calling it a day.
The Relocate group leader Hayley Paddon told supporters on Sunday afternoon that after the recent narrow election win by the National Party candidate, the team feels that their fight against the relocation of the Tweed Hospital to prime red soil State Significant Farmland (SSF) tragically will be lost.
‘The bigger battle in the on-going war to save Cudgen Plateau’s remaining SSF from urban development must continue,’ she said.
‘We accept Relocate’s role is finished. We have exhausted all possible actions to save this piece of land.
‘We retain our unwavering support for better hospital services on the Tweed, but it is a pity that the painful consequences of MP Geoff Provest’s flawed hospital site choice will only become obvious to the community once the project is well under way.’
Provest’s flawed hospital site choice will only become obvious to the community once the project is well under way
Ms Paddon says she will continue to encourage the community to remain vigilant.
‘Do not be intimidated by bullies insisting opposing opinions are now not to be spoken in public,’ she said. ‘It is still our democratic right and responsibility to speak up to protect all Tweed farmlands, and our quality of life here in the villages.’
Paddon urged local residents to continue the fight to hold MP Geoff Provest to his March 1 promise of an ‘iron-clad guarantee that land outside the hospital site would not be rezoned’.
In her final speech Ms Paddon thanked all those who selflessly gave their time to campaign to protect our ‘irreplaceable farmlands, village lifestyle and local economy’.
‘Over the past year the Relocate team has worked together tirelessly to challenge the lack of prior consultation, the unsubstantiated claims of “chosen by experts”, the contempt for Tweed Council’s opinion, and the arbitrary over-ruling of the community’s two hard-won principles of protecting
Resistance has unfortunately come at the cost of vilification of good decent local residents
State Significant farmland and keeping a three storey limit in coastal villages.’
‘Despite allegations to the contrary, our democratic resistance has unfortunately come at the cost of vilification of good decent local residents who have neither real estate interests in farmland nor money to be made from development.
‘It is very sad that such a contemptible counter-campaign was conducted, involving many fake and anonymous social media troll accounts that spread lies and myths about our members, hacking my family Instagram account into porn sites, a late night life-threatening phone call to one member, faeces spread on a supporter’s doorstep, and tirades of phone, email and public abuse.
‘The NSW Health Minister even found it necessary to smear Relocate supporters with totally unsubstantiated media inferences that they were responsible for site vandalism.
‘All of this social disruption has been solely because the government mysteriously chose to ignore its own legislation that prohibits the use of such farmland unless no feasible alternative exists.
‘To say no alternatives exist remains their continuing lie.
There is an urgent need to bring about healing and peace for supporters and members
‘But it is now obvious there is no remaining prospect of overturning the massive corporate forces ranged against our volunteer local organisation. There is an urgent need to bring about healing and peace for supporters and members. Rather than pointlessly expose them to any further abuse, we have commenced the formal winding up of our Relocate Association.’
In closing Ms Paddon said that Mr Provest and his government have affirmed their chosen single site is more than adequate to accommodate all the region’s health needs into the future.
‘There can no longer be misinformation spruiked about opposing important new hospitals when the public objects to any further urbanisation of our finest farmland.
‘The Provest promise can unite the entire community in its demand to save the remaining protected farmlands and the character of the Cudgen Plateau area.
‘We accept the hospital may be built. But the preservation of the remaining farmlands remains a goal that the whole community can now embrace.
‘I am certain this is the issue that can bring our broken community together again’.