The Tweed Valley Hospital (TVH) development has already been having negative impacts on traffic congestion in Kingscliff, Cudgen and Chinderah with extra traffic ‘rat running’ through local streets causing congestion and reducing safety.
On Monday evening concerned residents, Tweed Shire councillors and staff, and police came together to discuss the impact of traffic on locals as the TVH comes online in early 2024.
‘Villages like ours are stretched in relation to traffic and the impacts of traffic because the road networks are not built for today’s level of traffic,’ President of Kingscliff Ratepayers and Progress Association Inc (KRPA) told The Echo.
He also highlighted the influx of people during covid and increasing population and visitor numbers will continue to impact the town as more developments are completed.
‘The TVH predicts that there will be 5,5000 car movements a day of additional traffic movements on Kingscliff, Chinderah and Cudgen’, said Mr Newton.
‘We are very concerned that Kingscliff becomes the short “rat run” to the TVH. Kingscliff is already being used as a through route as opposed to the destination for example during construction. Workers and associated people have been “rat running” through our suburban streets. This also becomes a safety issue and leads to overloaded roads.
Five areas of concern
The meeting addressed five areas of concern:
- Impact of the Tweed Valley Hospital
- Traffic flow, congestion and parking
- Planning and infrastructure
- Driver behaviour, compliance and road safety
- Community engagement with traffic committee
‘It was a highly engaged and productive session,’ said Mr Newton.
‘There were a number of stakeholders in the room including Tweed Mayor Chris Cherry, Crs Firth, Byrnes, Brinsmead and Owen, Mr Skye Lever (Kinetic) and visitors from other Community Associations.’
The panel consisted of David Oxenham, Director Engineering, TSC; Danny Rose, Manager Roads and Stormwater, TSC; and Detective Chief Inspector Matt Kehoe, Tweed/Byron Police.
‘We see this as a starting point,’ Mr Newton explained.
‘This was the first time we’ve had all the stakeholders under one roof.’
Slowing traffic down was a key area of discussion as they group looked at ways to reduce traffic, make the streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists and reduce the likelihood that a through town route would come up on Google maps.
This led to a robust discussion on signage, speed reduction and enforcement and the need for an effective public transport system that provided people with direct access to the TVH.
‘We have significant concerns over the impact of TVH and see this discussion as a starting point so that we don’t end up as a hospital traffic town,’ said Mr Newton.
Mr Newton said that Justine Elliots office had confirmed that Labor will uphold the previous Liberal-National coalition’s commitment to free parking for all users at the new TVH site.
However, health infrastructure is yet to confirm this position.
‘A number of matters identified to be taken forward through council, local traffic committee, health infrastructure, transport providers and police,’ said Mr Newton.
‘The forum is a starting point for what will be ongoing engagement with all stakeholders and the community on these critical matters. It was terrific to have the Mayor and other Councillors in attendance to listen to the range of traffic and related issues raised by our community. This means that as we take these matters forward, the majority of Councillors have clearly heard and understand the background to our concerns.
‘KRPA is particularly grateful to Cr Brinsmead who suggested the forum as a starting point to identifying key issues and also for her commitment to working with the community into the future to find solutions,’ said Mr Newton.