Relocating the Tweed Hospital to to the contentious new site at Kingscliff has divided the community with many claiming that it is just the first step to remove the state significant farmland (SSF) status and opening it up for development.
Reinforcing this concern has been the purchase of the adjoining block of SSF by Brisbane based developer IRBS who have now approached Health Infrastructure to look at ways of utilising the adjoining block of SSF as part of the new hospital development.
While local National Party member Geoff Provest stated to the Sydney Morning Herald that locating the new hospital on SSF would not ‘open the floodgates to further development’ the block of land next to the hospital site was bought by IRBS for $4.51m soon after his statement.
Ministers confirmation sought
The Kingscliff Ratepayers and Progress Association (KRPA) have recently sought confirmation from the NSW Minister for Planning, the Hon Rob Stokes regarding the government guarantee that was provided by Mr Provest and other members of the state government, that no further SSF would be lost as a result of the development of the Tweed Valley Hospital.
‘The response from Mr Stokes to our initial communications in December was certainly less clear and unambiguous and we have written to the Minister again to seek further clarification and assurances that no remaining SSF will be at risk and protections will be retained,’ said Gaida Macs, president of the KRPA.
‘We are yet to hear back from Mr Provest, who we included in our communications to the Minister. We will continue to follow up with Mr Provest regarding our concerns, so that he has the opportunity to reinforce his initial guarantees and present our case to the Minister.
‘Having a major infrastructure development on the Cudgen plateau is less than ideal, however, we can work with the Government to ensure that the impact on the very fabric of what makes our coastal and rural community unique and attractive to holiday makers and residents alike is minimised.
‘The resumption or loss to development of any further SSF would be devasting to the community. The ongoing protection of this valuable and unique resource is critical to the character of our wonderful district.’