A map of sites short-listed for the new Tweed Valley Hospital.
A map of sites short-listed for the new Tweed Valley Hospital.

Landowner demands six-storey height for new hospital

THE landowner of the alternative Tweed Valley Hospital site at Chinderah has demanded the hospital only be built on his land if it's "five to six storeys” in height.

Three alternative sites for the Tweed Valley Hospital, including Kings Forest, Chinderah and Tweed Coast Road, were short-listed by NSW Health Infrastructure on Monday, following an extended community consultation phase which ended on June 14.

The Chinderah site, which is located at the northern end of Tweed Coast Road, near the Pacific Highway and across from the Chinderah Golf Course, is owned by Gales Holding director and major Kingscliff developer Dr Stephen Segal.

Dr Segal told the Tweed Daily News he put forward more than 40ha of land during the extended expression of interest process but had not discussed with Health Infrastructure which part of the land would be used for a hospital.

He said his land was "the best site” for the hospital as it had already been identified as part of a Kingscliff Business and Knowledge precinct - designed to be above flood level and zoned as industrial.

Gales Holdings director Dr Stephen Segal during the open day in Kingscliff.
Gales Holdings director Dr Stephen Segal. Aisling Brennan

However, Dr Segal said he only wanted his site to be used for the hospital if it was a "higher level building of five to six storeys”.

"During a public exhibition, the council exhibited the new Kingscliff locality plan showing 20m high buildings on our land,” he said.

"With the flood constraints in the Tweed River Valley, there are only limited amounts of land that can deliver the services the Tweed Coast needs and we can't have a low sprawling hospital taking up a big chunk of that. It's a limited recourse.”

Dr Segal said a six-storey hospital could be built faster and cost less than a three-storey building over a larger area.

"Ours could be a more efficient operation by having a higher building,” he said.

The Gales Holding land has been short-listed as a possible alternative site despite not being able to meet Possible Maximum Flood (PMF) requirements initially required by Health Infrastructure.

But Dr Segal said there was a "lack of information” about PMF requirements, as hospitals on the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Wagga Wagga and Brisbane only had to be built to Q500 requirements, or one in every 500 year floods.

He said his land could cater to a hospital at Q500 level.

"I think the best way of proceeding is to have a table compared by the assessment committee and other various authorities with the selected sites showing the pros and cons of each site,” he said.

Another alternative site selected by Health Infrastructure is 121-147 Tweed Coast Road, owned by farmer Alan McIntosh who famously offered to donate 12ha of his land worth around $2.5million in a bid to end the stoush between residents and council over the proposed Cudgen site.

Alan McIntosh is sick of watching the debate about the Tweed hospital site rage on. He has decided to step in and offer up his property in Cudgen ... FOR FREE.
Chinderah landowner Alan McIntosh. Jerad Williams

Mr McIntosh said his donation offer "still stands” and while the land was considered State Significant Farmland, it was RU2, which represents a lower level of state significance.

He said the land would not be used for farming at any point in the future.

"The fact is that our land is the only non-floodable land, we don't have any flood issues on our land and the other two have,” he said.

"There's no doubt Kingscliff has got to move from the coast to inland at some point, they don't need to clog the roads system if they build it further inland and closer to the M1.

"Even if the government doesn't take it, it will remain as it is, at the moment there's cattle grazing on it, it's just like a lawn. Lawn it will be, lawn it will always be.”

Mr McIntosh said he believed a hospital on his land could offer spectacular views for sick patients.

"It has to be a healing hospital, here you could look one way and see Mt Warning very clearly or look the other way and see the ocean on the other side, that's a very healing outlook,” he said.

Mr McIntosh said he did not mind where the hospital went as long as it was built quickly.

A spokesperson for Leda Holdings, the developer behind the mega Kings Forest estate and the third short-listed alternative site, declined to comment.

He said the company had signed a deed of confidentiality over the process since Kings Forest had been short-listed as an alternative site.