LOOKING AHEAD: Cr Keith Rhoades fears parking provisions will not keep pace with the hospital upgrade.
LOOKING AHEAD: Cr Keith Rhoades fears parking provisions will not keep pace with the hospital upgrade. Mike Knott BUN300617CBD24

Fears for parking provisions at hospital upgrade

COUNCILLOR Keith Rhoades fears not enough parking has been factored into the $194 million Coffs Harbour Hospital Expansion.

He has been contacted by a number of concerned residents and raised it as a matter of urgency at a recent council meeting, asking staff to seek further information.

Deemed a State Significant Project the NSW State Government is taking the lead with no requirement for a council development application.

"When doing an expansion this big you've got a lot more staff, a lot more patients and a lot more visitors but from the workers' perspective they are already forced to go up behind the industrial area because they can't find a park,” Cr Rhoades said.

"We have found it hard to get information about it but overall there could be no increase in parking over what's existing, and there could even be a slight decrease in number.

"If it's good enough for the private sector when they build commercial premises to provide x amount of car parks, why can't the state government be compelled to do the same.”

The Coffs Coast Advocate put these concerns to the NSW Government and received the following response from a Health Infrastructure spokesperson:

"The new Coffs Harbour Hospital Clinical Services Building will be partly built on an existing carpark. New spaces will be constructed as part of the current hospital expansion. In addition to this, a new carpark was opened in 2015 and provided more than 450 additional spaces.”

Asked to clarify figures the spokesperson outlined the loss of approximately 110 car parking spaces but would not put a figure on how many new spaces would be provided, saying simply:

"To offset this (loss), car parking spaces will be constructed during the redevelopment; some of which will be located near the new Emergency Department, Cancer Centre and Renal Unit.”

Coffs Harbour hospital.08 MAY 2018
BIG PLANS: The $194 million Coffs Harbour Hospital Expansion will include a new emergency department. Trevor Veale

CPB Contractors have been announced to lead the construction, which will include a new emergency department, operating theatres, a short stay surgical unit, orthopaedic and vascular unit and an expansion to facilities for ambulatory care and community health services.

The main expansion will begin from the middle of this year.

Early works began in late November last year with the construction of a new access road.

The new four-level building will be positioned in front of the existing hospital entrance.