Bethesda plan gains green light

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Western Opinion - By DENISE S. CAHILL

BETHESDA Hos­pi­tal has the green light to start work on a $10 mil­lion ad­di­tion that will in­clude two new the­atres at its Queenslea Drive fa­cil­ity.

Last week, the Town of Clare­mont ap­proved the devel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tion 5-3 that would add a new re­cov­ery room, staff amenity fa­cil­i­ties, an ad­min­is­tra­tion and stor­age area and me­chan­i­cal plant room spa­ces at the river­side end of the build­ing

Hos­pi­tal board chair­man Neale Fong said the new op­er­at­ing the­atres would make the not-for-profit, 70year-old or­gan­i­sa­tion more com­mer­cially vi­able.

“Th­ese two new the­atres will re­place two very old the­atres that are not suit­able for the surg­eries we wish to do,” Dr Fong told coun­cil­lors.

“The vol­ume of surg­eries will stay the same but we will be able to do more com­plex surg­eries in the fu­ture.

“It will take time for the the­atres to ramp up and they will have min­i­mum im­pact on staffing lev­els.”

But Vic­to­ria Av­enue res­i­dent Ainslie de Vos told coun­cil­lors at the meet­ing that the ad­di­tion would cre­ate more park­ing prob­lems for nearby res­i­dents.

“There’s not nearly enough park­ing be­cause it’s caus­ing con­cerns for peo­ple as far away as Princess Road,” Ms de Vos said.

“Bethesda is pro­vid­ing a val­ued ser­vice to the com­mu­nity but it is also ad­versely af­fect­ing peo­ple in the neigh­bour­hood.”

Dr Fong said the hos­pi­tal would add 27 car bays to an area along the fore­shore – ap­proved by the WA Plan­ning Com­mis­sion and Swan River Trust last year de­spite Clare­mont rec­om­mend- ing re­fusal – that would mean the fa­cil­ity ex­ceeded the num­ber of bays re­quired by the town’s Town Plan­ning Scheme.

Cr Chris Mews said the pro­posal was not in the com­mu­nity in­ter­est.

Cr Mews said a pre­vi­ous “mas­sive ex­pan­sion” had led to the coun­cil im­pos­ing a two-hour park­ing re­stric­tion on Vic­to­ria Av­enue that caused hos­pi­tal staff to park on the nearby Princess Road.

Cr Paul Kelly said while he agreed with some com­ments against the pro­posal, “I’m strug­gling to find how we can rea­son­ably re­ject the ap­pli­ca­tion”.

An artist’s im­pres­sion of the ad­di­tion to Bethesda Hos­pi­tal.

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