The Free Press (Corowa)
New medical centre by mid 2022
the number of onsite car parking spaces from 72 to 37, a shortfall of 35 spaces.
Council staff met with the developer on May 10 to discuss the impact of the 46% variation in the vicinity of the development - the hospital, access for emergency vehicles, a nearby business and the amenity of the surrounding residential area.
“As part of the discussion it was resolved to prepare a planning agreement with the focus of the works of the agreement to improve the health and wellbeing of the community,” council’s director development and environmental services Susan Appleyard said.
“It was also agreed that a drop-off zone within Guy Street Road Reserve be defined for the front of 53-55 Guy Street between the hours of 8.00am and 6.00pm Monday to Friday and 9.00am to 3.00pm Saturdays.
“The operation of the facility will have impact on the amenity of the adjoining residential areas during operating hours and the developer has made every endeavour to limit this impact. The introduction of a drop-off area will improve the impact on the amenity.”
At yesterday’s meeting, Cr Paul Miegel expressed his strong support for the development application, which, at his suggestion, includes required improvement to on-street parking in the vicinity of the development and the medical precinct with the following works to be undertaken:
Evelyn Street between Guy Street and Vera Street be upgraded
Line marking for new street parking in Guy Street from Redlands Road to Arnott Street, Tower Street from the Corowa High School entrance to Guy Street and Evelyn Street from Guy Street to Vera Street.
A health professional for over 35 years, Cr Miegel is acutely aware of the importance of medical services to a rural community.
“I believe that Corowa should be rightly proud, and very thankful for the range of services that are currently available which would be the envy of many other centres of a similar size,” he said.
“We have recently heard the issues facing many other communities in our region, as part of the NSW Legislative Council inquiry into rural health.
“The proposal to increase medical services in Corowa is another boost for our community and shows confidence by the proponent, in the town and the broader community.”
Moving the motion yesterday, Cr Miegel said he supports the proposal as it is identified in the director’s report, in that it is of significant benefit to the well-being of the community “and that the developer is prepared to work with council to mitigate the issues regarding parking and traffic”.
Cr Miegel acknowledged there is the risk of increased traffic in the precinct and trusts that council will continue to monitor and improve the situation.
“Federation Council has, at significant cost, already provided support to the establishment of a medical practice at Oaklands and continues to support the medical practice at Urana,” he said.
“I believe it would therefore be almost hypocritical of this council to not support this development especially as there is no cost to council.”
All councillors supported Cr Miegel’s comments. “Parking up there is very restricted and it certainly needs to be clarified. It’s very important that parking is identified.”
Cr Fred Longmire referred to the importance of the drop-off zone. “It’s so necessary - all the big hospitals in Melbourne have it. If there is congestion, there can be alternatives. It is an excellent idea.”
As an observer on the local traffic committee, Cr Norm Wales fully supported Cr Miegel’s “identify, clarify and regulate” traffic suggestion.
Deputy Mayor Shaun Whitechurch said matters like parking and drainage – the latter requiring a sizeable retention tank in relation to condition 17, drainage discharge plan - are time consuming which must be discussed between council and developer before council decision time, hence a seemingly long time in the decision.
Cr Whitechurch envisaged policing of the traffic could pose concerns. Ms Appleyard said next year’s budget allows for additional surveillance of the situation.
Mayor Pat Bourke said the town’s police has offered to patrol the location and then described the project. “It’s very, very exciting to say the least,” he said.
Just the one submission was received during the exhibition period of the development application which included a concern about the impact of lighting on the neighbourhood residential area. The 35 conditions imposed by council include a condition that all lighting be directed to limit the impact on adjoining property owners.
Federation Council’s decision was welcomed by Corowa senior doctor Ayon Guha who told The Free Press that all requirements of council can and will be met.
“It will be an absolutely mighty facility, a service that Corowa doesn’t have,” he said. “We want Corowa to grow and that’s why we’re investing here.”
Dr Guha expects construction to start in about a month after receiving approvals. “We expect it will be completed 12 months from the start, so mid-2022, and we will be looking to as much local involvement in the construction as possible.”