NSW Infrastructure stands by its selection of hospital position:
NSW Health Infrastructure has defended its decision to select prime agricultural land at Cudgen as the site for its $534 million new Tweed Valley Hospital.
The organisation has released detailed information on the processes behind its selection of the new site – which is earmarked for a 22ha lot on Cudgen Road across the road from North Coast TAFE – currently home to a sweet potato crop and 4ha of rainforest.
The explanation follows an outcry from residents in the wake of the April 4 announcement of the site, with a community meeting organised by concerned farmers last week attracting more than 200 people.
In a statement issued to the Tweed Daily News ,a Health Infrastructure spokesperson said while they acknowledged around 16ha of land mapped as State Significant Farmland (SSF) had been required, this represented just 0.13 per cent of the total SSF mapped for the NSW Far North Coast.
“All sites were assessed for their suitability against a comprehensive suite of criteria; informed by due diligence investigations undertaken by independent experts, and overseen by an independent probity advisor in accordance with robust NSW Government requirements,” the spokesperson said.
“The evaluation process was designed to ensure that any impacts arising from the selection of a particular site were considered against the broader community benefits brought about from situating the new hospital in that location.”
The spokesperson said the land in question sits on the far northeastern tip of the agricultural land – on the urban side of Cudgen Road – with future residential developments planned to the north.
It said several sites were investigated as part of the Expression of Interest process, including a number at Tweed Heads West, with details on these to be released in coming weeks.
Criteria governing their decision included location, access and traffic, urban context, built forms and landscaping, environment, heritage and culture, time, cost and value.
The department said it remained in negotiations with the landowner, who put forward the site in response to the EOI, with their preference to reach a negotiated settlement in parallel with progressing relevant planning approvals.
Tweed MP Geoff Provest – who only found out about the exact location the day before the announcement – stood by the decision.
“The last thing I want to do is to go down the route of the police station – that took seven long years, with cost blowouts and things like that,” he said.
Go to our website for the department’s full response.