Peta Jamieson.
Peta Jamieson. CONTRIBUTED

WBHHS calls council's CBD planning 'premature speculation'

BUNDABERG Council's economic development director Ben Artup recently publicly floated plans for the CBD revitalisation, but it seems not all are aligned with the vision.

In the NewsMail's Saturday edition it was revealed there is a push to bring "magnet infrastructure" such as a hospital and a new uni campus to the town centre.

But yesterday, Wide Bay Hospital and Health Board chair Peta Jamieson wrote to the NewsMail to express her disappointment.

"I'd like to emphasise that the responsibility for health capital development in this region rests with the State Government, in conjunction with the Wide Bay Hospital and Health board and service, and will always remain so," Ms Jamieson wrote.

Residents have raised their concerns about the location affecting whether or not it will be built here, worried the funding might go elsewhere.

Ms Jamieson stressed that the specific location was not what was important at this stage and actually securing the hospital for Bundaberg was.

G
G G

 

In order to secure the hospital, WBHHS must work through a range of considerations and requirements including population projection, health needs, capacity and diagnostic needs, and the inclusion of specialised services.

"...on top of our prime obligation to provide a site that is large enough for further expansion, is not land-locked and is flood free," she wrote.

"Bundaberg Regional Council's technical infrastructure advice will be sought once a site, or sites, have actually been chosen...

"So while I appreciate some members of council may be impatient to advance this project and clearly have a view on a potential site, I would like to reiterate that discussions on sites for a future Bundaberg Hospital are still premature and little more than speculation.

"For the sake of our children and grand-children's health, it's important to get it right."

Mayor Jack Dempsey said council had an advocacy role on behalf of the community and would continue to pursue efforts in securing the level 5 hospital for Bundaberg.

"My view as mayor is that a refurbished hospital on the current site is not an acceptable outcome," Cr Dempsey said.

"The community and staff deserve a new state-of-the-art, modern facility.

"Our economic development team has undertaken some work to put forward the CBD as a potential location. We believe this would invigorate the CBD and provide significant long-term benefits.

"Myself and a council officer presented analysis of the CBD scenario to hospital board members recently. We also made it clear that Council will support whatever location they eventually choose for a new hospital.

"At this stage the CBD option is simply that, an option. There may be others that are also worthy of consideration."

Peta Jamieson's full letter:

IT WAS disappointing to read the coverage of Bundaberg Regional Council's CBD Revitalisation plans (NM, 17/11), which referred to the potential for a new Bundaberg Hospital in the centre of the city.

I'd like to emphasise that the responsibility for health capital development in this region rests with the State Government, in conjunction with the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Board and Service, and will always remain so. Any decision regarding site location for a new or significantly refurbished Bundaberg Hospital will be made based on the extensive work we have undertaken over the past 18 months.

This work includes a range of considerations and requirements, including projections of population and health needs, capacity and diagnostic needs and the inclusion of new specialties - on top of our prime obligation to provide a site that is large enough for further expansion, is not land-locked and is flood free. Bundaberg Regional Council's technical infrastructure advice will be sought once a site, or sites, have actually been chosen, following a meticulous and consistent evaluation process.

The Board is fully aware of the impact a new or significantly refurbished Bundaberg Hospital would have on the region's economy, with the potential to create between 500 and 800 new skilled jobs and many flow-on effects for schools, housing and services.

So while I appreciate some members of Council may be impatient to advance this project and clearly have a view on a potential site, I would like to reiterate that discussions on sites for a future Bundaberg Hospital are still premature and little more than speculation. The Board believes in keeping its community informed on its plans for the future, and this is why we recently held some public information sessions to explain the process we have been undertaking, and our progress so far.

I also believe, and have consistently maintained, that it's crucial WBHHS and Bundaberg Regional Council collaborate effectively and productively as we pursue the best possible outcome for our community. I would urge the Council to allow us to follow due process by continuing the business case we are already well advanced on, and evaluate all potential sites on their merits by following a consistent and established set of criteria.

A new or significantly refurbished Bundaberg Hospital would be the biggest infrastructure project this region has seen for many years, and one that would last the community for at least 50 years. For the sake of our children and grandchildren's health, it's important to get it right.

PETA JAMIESON

Chair, Wide Bay Hospital and Health Board



PHOTOS: Man accused of using stove top to cook meth

premium_icon PHOTOS: Man accused of using stove top to cook meth

Detectives tackle drug crime

Community will have its say on council

premium_icon Community will have its say on council

Independent survey to be conducted

Local grower stars in ad as fracking fears air on TV

premium_icon Local grower stars in ad as fracking fears air on TV

Fight to stop fracking in the Wide Bay Burnett ramps up once more

Local Partners