Object to the EIS

Why Should You Object?  This is the one and only occasion when the Government legislation permits you the community to voice your opinion of their Hospital Relocation proposal.  It is vital that you do not waste it.

The Documents. Health Infrastructure NSW has advertised that their Development Application (DA), comprising a proposed Site-specific State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) and an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Tweed Valley Hospital have all been placed on exhibition for comment by the community.  (Your can click to read the full suite of documents here and here, )   Hard copies are available at Council Offices at Tweed and Murwillumbah, and at Kingscliff Library. It is not necessary to read all these documents to object to the Hospital Project, but it IS important to object to both the EIS and the proposed SEPP if you want your opinion to have maximum impact.

Time Frame. You must lodge your objections before 5pm on 13th December 2018.

How do I Submit my Objections?  The Department of Planning & Environment (DoPE) has provided on-line response forms for ordinary objections at this page for the EIS and this page for the SEPP.  Filling out the forms on BOTH pages is the most effective and reliable way to lodge an objection. Scroll to the bottom of these DoPE pages to find and fill the “submit objection” fields.

Alternatively you can print a friendly paper objection form from us by clicking here to download; or contact us at the Relocate Team (see contact page) to get a hard-copy paper objection form.  These forms come with addressed envelopes and can be mailed in to the DoPE, if you are uncomfortable with on-line forms. Their rules on this are reproduced fyi below.

“By Post:

If you cannot lodge online, you can submit your feedback in writing by posting it to the address below. If you want the Department to delete your personal information before publication, please make this clear at the top of your letter.

Attention: Deputy Secretary – Planning Services
Department of Planning and Environment
GPO Box 39, SYDNEY, NSW 2001,       Being sure to include –

  • Your name and address
  • Reference to the SSD application (SSD 18_9575) and/or the proposed SEPP amendment
  • A statement on whether you support or object to the proposed SSD and/or the proposed SEPP;
  • The reasons why you support or object to the proposed SSD and/or the proposed SEPP;
  • A declaration of any reportable political donations (including donations of $1,000 or more) made in the previous two years. For more details, and a disclosure form, visit our Donations and Gift Disclosure webpage.

All submissions will be made public. If you are lodging your submission online, follow the prompts on the website to choose if you do not want your name published.” – taken from DoPE website

What Can I Say? Simply say what matters to you. Your gut feelings are right, Every objection counts. and collectively they matter a great deal to the final decision.

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HI NSW has written to nearby owners explaining plans for its potential ultimate 9 storey building envelope.

The Government website’s documents contain many hundreds of thousands of words attempting to defend the reasons, intent and impact of placing a major regional hospital on State Significant Farmlands on the fringe of small holiday town whose total combined economic footprint is less than this one single development. It’s overwhelming. They know there is insufficient time for ordinary citizens to read, let alone grasp the significance of all these documents. Basically, they hope you’ll think it’s just too hard. But don’t worry.  You can object strongly on your own issues and leave the expert critique to our experts.

What are the Main Points?  We can help. This website and our Facebook page (click to view) have covered the key Hospital Project issues extensively over the past year.  It is worthwhile revisiting those pages as a refesher.  Listed below are some of the crucial concerns raised by the community over that time.   You may choose to use these as cues for your own submission. (Click SEPP or EIS to start.)

SEPP

  • Breaching the protections gazetted in the 2017 North Coast Regional Plan
  • Wrongful rezoning of SS Farmland (as per 1st dot point in the EIS guide below). Land is currently zoned RU1 and is State Significant Farmland It needs to be protected as a national asset, a valuable industry for the Tweed Shire and as food security for future generations.
  • Triggering of eventual supplementary rezonings adjacent to the Hospital in accordance with the Minister for Planning & Environment’s announced plans for an extended “Regional Health Services Precinct” adjoining the Hospital site, thus undermining the remaining prime agricultural land’s already at-risk viability threshold of 500ha. It only needs loss of another 30ha to lose its special protection altogeher.
  •  Facilitating automatic rezoning of adjoining land to support facilities associated with Tweed Regional Hospital.
  • Contradicting current height limit restrictions in the Tweed LEP which were established through extensive community consultation.
  • Rendering years of community consultation and planning (around Kingscliff as a tourist destination) redundant, through the massive social and economic footprint of the hospital.
  • Setting a precedent for the eventual demise of the Cudgen plateau agricultural sector, with ancillary health services and associated commerce and residential needs taking up additional land in much the same way as the Hospital.

EIS

  • Targeting State Significant Farmland when other site options exist. These lands were designated to be protected, not destroyed by the Government.
  • Revising the 2017 North Coast Regional Plan by Ministerial decree to shift the Tweed Hospital away from the City of Tweed Heads to the Town of Kingscliff with no prior community consultation whatsoever.
  • Ruining Kinscliff’s local beach and fresh food tourism industry. Changing the core business focus and culture of the town from tourism and small crop agriculture to health services without any discussion with the community.
  • Undermining the community’s hard fought 3 story limit in K’cliff (and the coastal villages) by changing its character through an iconic multi-storey building that will over-whelmingly dominate the skyline
  • Gutting the economy of Tweed Heads by removing the key economic driver (hospital) and betraying Tweed Heads residents with medical issues who invested their life savings in homes with hospital proximity.
  • Failing to consult with the community priior to the site choice decision, contrary to claims made in the EIS.
  • Ignoring any mention in the Community Consultation appendices of the two petitions with well over 8000 signatures  that went to the Upper & Lower Houses of NSW Parliament, nor of the 4600 followers of of the “Relocate” FaceBook page.  These were the strongest communtiy responses recorded in ANY forum.
  • Ignoring any mention of the resolution by Tweed Shire Council to oppose siting of the Tweed Hospital on prime agricultural land when considering social impacts and community responses.
  • Falsely asserting that the chosen site was the “best” and “chosen by experts” when in fact it was a commercial decision from the limited land for sale at one particular point in time in 2017. The “experts” never considered any land that was not for sale. Using the same compulsory acquisition powers curently being exercised over the reluctant owner of the Cudgen site, they could have selected ANY site in the Tweed Valley.
  • Isolating the majority of Tweed’s residents (Tweed Heads & Banora) from access to the Tweed Regional Hospital during major flood events
  • Diminishing Kingscliff residents’ quality of life with intense urbanization, increased traffic congestion and parking demand, 24hr ambulance emergency sirens, 24hr helipad emergency aircraft arrivals, all-night floolighting of entire site,  loss of amenity, loss of rural ambience, lifestyle, etc
  • Disguising the full costs of relocating the Hospital development by assigning the future costs of extending transport and utility infrastructure to other public Authorities. E.g. light rail proposed from Gold Coast airport to Tweed Heads.
  • Business & residential migration to the hospital precinct will increase property demand and therefore real estate prices in Kingscliff, rendering it unafforable for family offspring to live there in the future

 

Hints.  It is important that all fields in the on-line DoPE forms are properly filled before submission.    Submit separate forms for each household member (objectors need not be on the Electoral Roll.)  Establish your credentials as long term resident, business owner, farmer, professional, environmentalist etc.  Ensure that substantial reasons and/or examples are provided for all objections. Try to suggest reasonable alternative courses of action in each case.  Expression of feelings – loss, betrayal, outrage, grief etc are legitimate and effective, but be sure to avoid abusive language.

(It may be much easier to compose your comments in a word-processor and then copy & paste into their form rather than trying to type into it directly.)

Examples. Click here to download a typical example of a local resident submission. (Important; do not copy this submission example. Make sure you write your own. Apparent duplicates are likely to be disregarded. )