Former Shoalhaven councillor and local developer John Willmott believes Shoalhaven District Hospital should be rebuilt on a greenfields site to cater for the area from the next 200 years.
Mr Willmott has joined the debate over the hospital's future, ahead of a planned $434 million upgrade that would see the medical precinct extend onto the historic Nowra Park.
"I know it's the 11th hour and I know it's not going to be popular but a site that could cater for future expansion and take the hospital into the next 200 years should be planned for and considered," he said.
Mr Willmott congratulated Kiama and South Coast MPs Gareth Ward and Shelley Hancock for securing funding $434 million for the hospital upgrade.
"But I don't think they, or council, ever expected hundreds of millions of dollars to come in one sum."
"Given that it has, wouldn't it be a more strategic plan to look at a site that can cater for the area for the next 200 years?
"It needs to be what's best for the majority of the area.
"Forget today. We've got to look to 40 years or beyond when the western bypass is built. What access will we have to the hospital then?
"We need the fastest route to the greater majority of residents it's servicing. Surely that needs to be investigated?"
But alternative locations closer to Nowra near the Warra Warra Road area at South Nowra or even council owned land west of Nowra near the University of Wollongong precinct have been suggested.
A site that could cater for future expansion and take the hospital into the next 200 years should be planned for and considered.John Willmott
Mr Willmott said the North Nowra Bomaderry Structure Plan of 2006 showed a future supermarket development at the southern end of the South Nowra area.
It is understood there is one privately owned landholding of 15.9 hectares in that area and another adjoining block of land just further north of 16.39 hectares.
However, to the south of Warra Warra Road, even though it's not appropriately zoned, there is a parcel of land of 94 hectares.
"These sites, in my view, are not only on the highway, there is a current roundabout there and would be more accessible to people from Culburra and Greenwell Point via Old Southern Road and future ENSA (East Nowra Sub Arterial road) links," Mr Willmott said.
"People from Callala Beach and Bay, Jervis Bay and further down to Milton and Ulladulla could still access it via the highway from the south.
"It would save 20 minutes in each direction and that can be vital in an emergency. And there are services there."
He believes with a new $700 million hospital proposed for Shellharbour, many of the northern Shoalhaven residents, in places like Berry, might even decide to head north to that hospital rather than south to Nowra.
"A greenfields site could be closer to a future bypass of Nowra to the west," he said.
"At last week's council meeting we heard Cr Annette Alldrick complaining it took 35 minutes to get from North Nowra to work at the hospital.
"What is it going to be like with the doubling of the population which is what it is expected to do?
"What about the high density housing expected to be in and around the hospital precinct which will place intense pressure on schools and other infrastructure in Nowra?"
He said he understands Mr Ward's frustrations that there has been more than two years of planning and work and now in the 11th hour concerns or suggestions are raised.
"But it is still the 11th hour - there is time to consider things for the greater benefit of the residents of central and southern Shoalhaven without being to the detriment of Nowra itself," he said.
"This is a chance to look at the big picture."
Mr Willmott, who served on council between 2004-08, was part of a group that at the time opposed any future expansion of the hospital precinct onto Nowra Park.
"We fought hard for that and opposed it," he said.
"Gareth was on council at the time and if memory serves me, he was also against expansion into the park. The oldest gazetted park."