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Byron Shire
March 6, 2021

Tweed Hospital: finding the facts

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Livy James, Kingscliff

The state election might be over but, based on recent articles in our newspapers, the ongoing debate around placing a Level 5 hospital on the Cudgen farmlands is still a hot topic in the community.

The big disappointment is that many of the published articles are ‘opinion’ pieces at best, with very little in the way of facts that would help the community know exactly where things stand. How wonderful if at least one publication could look to provide a factual piece.

This could include the current status of the Tweed Valley Hospital planning process – easily obtained from the NSW Planning website.

From my latest reading, the SSD/EIS is still being assessed, ie there is no development application (DA) approval to move forward with building the hospital.

So those who keep insisting this is a ‘done deal’ are being premature. The Tweed Shire Council – including our local engineering and town-planning experts – provided a very lengthy and detailed objection to the SSD/EIS process, which provided a range of facts that would need to be addressed as part of the DA approval.

As a community, it is in our best interests to see these things adequately addressed.

And why not question a little harder why the Cudgen site was chosen as the only suitable site? Again, a fact worth pursuing because the Department of Planning’s SEPP Submissions Summary Report refers to the Cudgen site as ‘the most suitable site’.

If they had said ‘the only suitable site’, that would indicate there is ‘no feasible alternative’.

It’s a published fact that Mr Provest has given an iron-clad guarantee that there will be no further development of the SSF at Cudgen. How does Mr Provest propose to honour this commitment?

Previous community groups and state governments have fought hard to protect this piece of paradise, while others have fought to make it a developer’s paradise. And it’s not hard to find the facts behind these battles – supermarkets, churches, schools, emergency-service hubs, and now a hospital on the Cudgen Plateau; the close call on the development of the Kingscliff foreshore; development of Fingal and Mt Nullum.

If we’re going to finally let go of what is truly unique and valuable about the Tweed, let’s at least have all the facts.

Social media are for airing opinions; our newspapers should be providing us with facts. Everyone wants improved hospital facilities, no-one wants the wool pulled over their eyes.

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