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In the end the new hospital wants to be next door to residents with a helipad to boot

The Beagle Editor, Your readers might be interested in the following letter sent this week. Dear Eurobodalla Regional Hospital Project Team Leaders,

A big thank you to your team members for braving the rain and conducting the “meet and greet” last Thursday, 24 February, at the end of Maunsell Street (which I am sure would have been better attended had the weather been dry and had invitations been forwarded earlier.).

It was appreciated that members of your team committed to holding a further session/s in the near future and it is hoped these sessions will be well publicised, be conducted in an all-weather venue and be structured so that all present will be able to hear explanations of the plan and to be able to participate in a one-at-a-time question and answer process.

While there was an overwhelming desire to have the Level 4 regional hospital built and mostly the feelings expressed were that the site was generally acceptable, there were some concerns. The two major concerns of nearby residents related to -

(1) the proximity of the hospital and helipad to the nearby residential area and

(2) the potential impact of the previously unseen secondary access via Caswell Street, a newly constructed residential road having limited width.

It was explained by your team that the positions of the hospital and helipad had been determined because of the presence of aboriginal artefacts, a bushfire buffer zone and a nearby flood zone but it was not possible for the team members to specifically indicate the location of these considerations on the site plan. It followed that the questions of why their position could not be closer to the highway or why the secondary access could not be relocated, remain unanswered. It is hoped that this information will be available and better explained at the next consultative session.

As apparently works at the highway interface are scheduled to commence later this year and that overall project’s completion was likely in 2025, it seems imperative that there be no delays in the process to ensure that residents’ concerns are fully satisfied by proper explanations or if possible, by being adopted into the master plan. It follows that the attendance of a/some senior decision maker/s would expedite the process of informing the residents and amending plans if so decided.

It would be appreciated also that, at a future session, answers/explanations could be provided in response to other concerns and questions briefly raised at the session – these included –

· What is the strategy for securing additional skilled health workers to enable opening the hospital at level 4?

· What measures will be taken to provide accommodation for additional health workers coming to the region?

· How will the construction work force be accommodated?

· How will the major infrastructure projects announced for the Moruya area be co-ordinated to ensure best value of resources, infrastructure and their funding? (These projects include the hospital, the Moruya bypass and the proposed emergency control centre with related facility relocations).

· What is the projected likely frequency and duration of usages of the secondary access to Caswell Street?

· Where will the previously announced on-site carers’ accommodation be positioned?

Looking forward to an early next session.

Jeff de Jager

The two major concerns of nearby residents related to -

(1) the proximity of the hospital and helipad to the nearby residential area and

(2) the potential impact of the previously unseen secondary access via Caswell Street, a newly constructed residential road having limited width.

It was explained by the team that the positions of the hospital and helipad had been determined because of the presence of aboriginal artefacts, a bushfire buffer zone and a nearby flood zone but it was not possible for the team members to specifically indicate the location of these considerations on the site plan.

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