Mayor cornered on hospital site
TWEED Shire Mayor Katie Milne has ruled out the current Tweed Heads Hospital as a future site for affordable housing.
During the Tweed Shire Council meeting on Thursday, Cr Milne asked for an amendment to be made for the Affordable Housing Context and Options Paper before it goes on public exhibition.
The plan examines affordable, attainable and appropriate housing options.
Cr Milne asked that "all references to the Tweed Heads Hospital site being for affordable housing is removed from the options paper prior to exhibition".
Cr Milne said Urbanista, the consultants responsible for the options paper, had mentioned the hospital three times as a potential site for affordable housing once the $534m Tweed Valley Hospital was built.
"We should advocate as hard as we possibly can for that site to be retained as a medical centre or hospital if we can," Cr Milne said.
"That's our existing position, if it's not going to be a hospital it should be some sort of medical centre at least.
"It's far too premature to think it should go to affordable housing."
But Cr Pryce Allsop argued the current hospital site "ticked all the boxes" for affordable housing as it was close to amenities, bus stops and shopping centres.
"The staff have made a suggestion in the report and now we're going to go against that again, it would be good to know where the lines are drawn and where you're going to allow social housing and where you're not," he said. "Opportunities come up then we complain there isn't enough."
Cr Milne said affordable housing was desperately needed but the current Tweed Heads Hospital site was "not the only option".
"We can't stress this need for social housing enough, we have five-year waiting lists so really need all the help we can get," she said.
"However, the Tweed Heads hospital site isn't the only site for affordable housing."
Cr Milne said there were "plenty of other players" involved in the need for affordable housing, including the Kings Forest development.