Site fight will go on
CUDGEN farmers will continue the fight to relocate the Tweed Valley Hospital after it was confirmed the $534 million health precinct would be built on State Significant Farmland.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard announced on Saturday the hospital would be built on the originally proposed site opposite the North Coast TAFE on the red soil of the Cudgen Plateau.
The announcement caused a social media storm among those for and against the decision, with many Kingscliff residents and Cudgen farmers "mourning" the loss of the land and their "quiet coastal village".
Cudgen farmer and Relocate Tweed Valley Hospital spokesperson Hayley Paddon said the announcement was "not a surprise at all" and vowed the group would continue to fight the decision.
"This was a smokescreen for the community to think Cudgen was the best site for a hospital so they could open up the land for further development and rezoning," she said.
"We're not going to stand by and let this happen, this is for the future generations and for all of our families. The government is not getting it: the community doesn't want this."
An emergency meeting at the Cudgen Leagues Club on Monday night saw concerned residents call for blockades, legal action, petitions and publicity stunts.
But Support Our Hospital spokesperson Penny Hockings said the announcement further confirmed "the initial decision was the right one".
"I was very pleased with the decision and of the four short-listed sites it again came out on top," she said.
"Everyone just wants to get on with it and get it built, I'm very disappointed that the decision hasn't been accepted by the other side."
Ms Hockings said her group would "continue providing factual information" about the hospital development.
"We're not going anywhere, not by a long shot," she said.
Cattle farmer Alan McIntosh, who famously offered to donate 12ha of his land worth $2.5 million in a bid to end the stoush over the proposed Cudgen site, said he was "happy and excited" a decision had been made.
Mr McIntosh's land at Tweed Coast Rd was one of three alternative sites short-listed by Health Infrastructure following an extended Expression of Interest phase, which also included sites at Kings Forest and Chinderah.
"We're going to get a half-billion dollar hospital and I just hope these detractors can take a step backwards and just really think of what we're getting," Mr Mcintosh said.
"In five years' time we'll look back and say what were we arguing about, if you're a farmer I sympathise, but pick up your soil and take it west. This will be a great asset for the entire Tweed community."
Developer Stephen Segal, who owns the land at the previously short-listed Chinderah site, said the hospital would give the area a "much-needed boost".
"I think it's great that there is a new hospital going ahead at Kingscliff and it's going to service the whole shire and beyond," he said.
Developer Leda Holdings, which is behind the Kings Forest site and owned by Gold Coast billionaire Bob Ell, did not comment on the decision.