A false impression of the new Tweed Valley Hospital at the proposed Cudgen site.
A false impression of the new Tweed Valley Hospital at the proposed Cudgen site. Channel Nine

10 myths surrounding the Tweed Valley Hospital

HEALTH Infrastructure has moved to dispel myths and misinformation surrounding the new Tweed Valley Hospital.

In a staff newsletter obtained by the Tweed Daily News today, Health Infrastructure says its consultation process includes "addressing some of the rumours and misinformation surrounding the Tweed Valley Hospital".

The newsletter reads as follows:

1. Rumour: The new Tweed Valley Hospital is being planned to be bigger than Gold Coast University Hospital (GCUH).

Fact: The Tweed Valley Hospital will be built to support a major regional referral hospital of up to 450 total beds, to meet the healthcare needs of the Tweed-Byron region to 2031/32. The new hospital will be around double the floor area of the current Tweed Hospital. However, this is about one-third of the floor area of GCUH, which is a tertiary teaching hospital and major trauma centre.

2. Rumour: There are no plans to deal with an increase in traffic congestion from staff, patients, visitors and service vehicles using and accessing the new Tweed Valley Hospital.

Fact: Traffic assessments completed by independent experts have identified that there is sufficient capacity in the existing road network to manage access to the hospital, with peak flows to the hospital in the morning and afternoon in the opposite direction from the primary 'tidal' traffic flows.


The selected site of the $534 million Tweed Valley Hospital at Cudgen.
The selected site of the $534 million Tweed Valley Hospital at Cudgen.

3. Rumour: The hospital will be built higher than the current three-storey development limit, and will create a precedent for future planning proposals in the area.

Fact: The hospital campus will have special purpose zoning, and therefore the ultimate height that the hospital is built to is unrelated to the town planning controls imposed on other areas.

4. Rumour: The existing Tweed Hospital site can be easily redeveloped.

Fact: The existing Tweed Hospital is at capacity. The site is already built-out and congested, with limited opportunity for adjacent redevelopment due to the river to the east, medium density housing to the north and south and Tweed Heads Bowls Club and other civic amenities to the west.


The Tweed Heads Hospital
The Tweed Heads Hospital SCOTT POWICK

5. Rumour: Kingscliff will lose its classification as a village and become a Regional City under the Tweed City Action Plan, if the new Tweed Valley Hospital is built on the selected site.

Fact: The Tweed City (Region) Action Plan covers Tweed Heads to Kingscliff, and is currently in development by the Department of Planning and Environment; Tweed Shire Council and other stakeholders, including the Tweed Valley Hospital project team.

6. Rumour: The decision to place the new hospital on the selected site shows a clear lack of planning and consultation, and is politically driven.

Fact: A comprehensive site selection process was undertaken, including extensive due diligence investigations, community consultation and consideration of alternative sites.

7. Rumour: The NSW Government will not contribute to roadworks and water and sewerage services at the selected hospital site, as a private developer is required to do, and these costs will be passed on to ratepayers.

Fact: The NSW Government is investing $582 million in a brand new major referral hospital for the Tweed-Byron region as well as interim upgrades at the existing hospital, to expand and enhance free public health services for the Tweed-Byron community.

Local Government is required to contribute to the provision of State-funded social infrastructure, such as hospitals, through the provision of local supporting infrastructure such as road and utilities upgrades. In this case, the State Government is funding the upgrades required to local roads as part of the project, and is also discussing with Tweed Shire Council (amongst others) how other upgrades might be funded.


An architects concept of the new Tweed Valley Hospital.
An architects concept of the new Tweed Valley Hospital. Rick Koenig

8. Rumour: There has been little to no consultation with the community and other key stakeholders.

Fact: Consultation was undertaken with senior representatives of a number of stakeholder organisations as part of site selection due diligence investigations, including the NNSW LHD Board and Executive, Tweed Hospital Executive and lead clinicians, Department of Planning and Environment, Department of Primary Industries, Tweed Shire Council, NSW Ambulance, Tweed Police and Fire and Rescue NSW.

9. Rumour: The Tweed Valley Hospital will look like the grey building block "artist's impression" used on A Current Affair and re-published by Echonet.

Fact: The image published was not produced by the project team and is not representative of what the hospital will look like on the Cudgen Road site. Echonet have been requested to remove the image as it is misleading.

10. Rumour: The new hospital is underfunded compared to other hospital developments in the State, and therefore will need to seek private funding to cover the shortfall via a public-private partnership arrangement.

Fact: The Tweed Valley Hospital will be a public hospital that will deliver a comprehensive range of free public healthcare services to the Tweed-Byron catchment. It will not be a public-private partnership.

To see the full newsletter and for more information, visit here.