SHOALHAVEN Mayor Amanda Findley still believes a new greenfields site would be a far better option for Shoalhaven hospital rather than expanding the current facility's footprint even further onto Nowra Park.
A leaked internal Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District memo to staff by CEO Margot Mains has said Shoalhaven City Council had given "interim in-principle support for the acquisition of Nowra Park".
"A number of Shoalhaven City Councillors are still convinced the state government's proposed $434 million redevelopment of the Shoalhaven District Hospital would be better spent on a greenfield site," Cr Findley said.
A move she believes would also locate the hospital closer to the majority of the area's population in the Bay and Basin.
"The current hospital precinct could very easily be converted into specialist rooms for visiting medical specialists," Cr Findley said.
Cr Findley said Nowra Park is Crown Land and council was just the custodians.
"The state government can just take the land back but we would rather them consider a true greenfields site south of Nowra," she said.
"Somewhere where they could build at grade parking which is suitable for future expansion without having to spend multi-millions in going vertical for parking and hospital buildings.
"I believe decisions made in the past for Nowra hospital, all those accumulative decisions approved by the state government, have been piecemeal.
"Everyone wants to see the hospital upgraded - we all want the best for the region. We want to see the refurbishment and growth.
Everyone wants to see the hospital upgraded - we all want the best for the region. We want to see the refurbishment and growth.But the $434 million investment could actually go onto a site that will service the future needs of the growing Shoalhaven.Mayor Amanda Findley
"But the $434 million investment could actually go onto a site that will service the future needs of the growing Shoalhaven. Cramming the hospital on its current extended footprint will not give the best possible outcome for the residents of the Shoalhaven.
"Every person in the Shoalhaven believes in the investment of the hospital - we're just asking them [the state government] to reconsider, and buy a new site.
"It is not about putting the investment off. Buying a new site can be done rapidly if the government chooses or puts it mind to it.
"That's been shown by a $700 million investment in a new Shellharbour hospital announced just this week."
A hospital that a site hasn't even been located or announced yet.
"It's not like they [the government and health] haven't dealt with other greenfield sites in the past five years or so," Cr Findley said.
"We've seen new hospitals at Tweed Heads, Bega etc - they already have high quality plans drawn up that could be adapted for a flat site."
She said council had given "in-principle support" to the acquisition of Nowra Park for the hospital expansion.
"Realistically though, the state government can do whatever it likes to expand the hospital precinct," she said.
"We [council] are between a rock and a hard place - I think the majority of councillors don't believe in a greenfield site and want to see it go ahead at Nowra Park. The only councillors who are calling for a new greenfield site are the Greens.
"I believe everyone else has given up - the idea has been in train for so long it can't be changed now. But this is our last opportunity to change things for a better outcome for the future of the Shoalhaven."
Fellow Greens' councillor Nina Digiglio is organising a petition calling for a new greenfields site for Shoalhaven hospital.
"More importantly, Cr Digglio has spoken to many visiting specialists and many in the medical fraternity who believe a greenfield site away from the present location would result in a better hospital for the future." Cr Findley said.
"However, it seems the medical infrastructure arm of government doesn't seem to want to engage with those people who could be the long term users and providers of services."