Kings Forest still preparing for Tweed Valley Hospital
MEGA-DEVELOPER Leda Holdings is continuing preparation works for the $534 million Tweed Valley Hospital in the hope the site will be relocated to Kings Forest.
In a document obtained by the Tweed Daily News, Leda Holdings has written to Tweed Shire Council Mayor Katie Milne explaining Kings Forest will be ready as an "alternative” site for the hospital by April of next year.
"Leda remains strongly of the opinion that the site we proposed at Kings Forest is far superior to the selected site,” the letter states.
"We are attending to the pre-commencement conditions of the Kings Forest planning approval and expect to start Tweed Coast Road entry and lead-in infrastructure works in April next year.
"This will result in the site we proposed for the hospital being ready in accordance with our proposal to NSW Health Infrastructure.
"It therefore is and will remain an alternative location for the hospital while the application in respect of the selected site is dealt with.”
The Tweed Shire Council is expected to discuss the letter during tonight's council meeting.
Kings Forest was one of three sites narrowed down by Health Infrastructure as a potential site for the new hospital after an extended community consultation phase, but was ultimately ruled out due to a number of issues including adjacent koala habitat.
But the site was backed by State Labor with Opposition Leader Luke Foley claiming the hospital would be built at Kings Forest under a Labor Government.
State Labor candidate for Tweed, Craig Elliot, has since said the state election in March would "be a referendum on the hospital site”.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has maintained work on the Cudgen site will begin before the next election, confirming the beginning of the formal compulsory acquisition process earlier this month.
Debate over the hospital site again heated up this week with Federal Richmond MP Justine Elliot claiming the Kings Forest site was "shovel-ready”.
Tweed MP Geoff Provest hit back, calling the claims "false and misleading”, saying the site remained subject to modification of its Koala Plan of Management which needed to be passed by the Independent Planning Commission.
A Leda Holdings spokesperson told the Tweed Daily News the Kings Forest Hospital site was "not shovel ready in a literal sense”.
"It is shovel ready in the context of where this project has been for the last 30 years and its imminent commencement,” the spokesperson said.
"We're not shovel ready yet in a literal sense that we could go there tomorrow and put a shovel in, but certainly we will be able to put a shovel in by the end of March next year.”
Mrs Elliot, whose husband is running for Labor against incumbent Mr Provest in the state poll, has since clarified the Kings Forest site would be shovel ready "at the time of the election”.
"Kings Forest will be the only site ready to go,” she said.
"A vote for Labor is a vote for the hospital to be built at Kings Forest.”