Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Kingscliff Chosen as Site of Shire's Hospital; Doctors and Tweed MPs Welcome State Decision

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Kingscliff Chosen as Site of Shire's Hospital; Doctors and Tweed MPs Welcome State Decision

Article excerpt

Byline: Nikki Todd tweeddailynews.com.au

THE NSW Government has dismissed concerns about potential flooding and a change of land use as it confirmed its intention to build its new Tweed Valley Hospital at Kingscliff.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard visited Kingscliff on Wednesday to confirm the NSW Government was in final negotiations with the landowner of a 23ha parcel of prime agricultural land on the boundary between Cudgen and Kingscliff.

The site, which is used to farm sweet potatoes, is on elevated land across the road from North Coast TAFE.

"There were 30 sites that we looked at and, on all the criteria that were necessary, particularly being close to the population growth area and also being so close to TAFE ... we decided this area was the prime area," Mr Hazzard said.

"At the moment we have around 210 beds for the Tweed. We are looking somewhere in the order of 450 beds in the new hospital, bigger operating theatres ... new facilities, new pediatric services, it will be an incredible outcome for this community."

Ms Hazzard dismissed concerns of flooding, saying more than 16ha of the site's 23ha were above the flood level, with several alternative routes available to access the site should flooding occur in the region.

He declined to comment on the price of the land as it remained subject to negotiation, but confirmed it would have to be rezoned from prime agricultural land to a zoning suitable for a hospital.

Sources confirmed the land in question is owned by a long-time Cudgen farmer, whose family has farmed the area for several generations, and not National Party powerbrokers the Beck family.

The government has committed to build the $534 million hospital by 2022, with the first works expected to start as early as next year.

Tweed MP Geoff Provest welcomed the announce- ment, saying it would be a game-changer for the Tweed.

"This is the largest capital investment ever in the Tweed," Mr Provest said.

He dismissed criticism of the change of land use from prime agricultural land, saying there was no flood- free alternative.

"It's on prime agricultural land, I make no secret of that, but it is on the edge of our prime agricultural land, so it is not fragmenting it," he said. …

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