Goulburn Mulwaree Council wants answers on hospital parking

Work to extend the Community Health building on the corner of Goldsmith and Faithfull Streets is underway at Goulburn Base Hospital.
Work to extend the Community Health building on the corner of Goldsmith and Faithfull Streets is underway at Goulburn Base Hospital.

A multi-storey car park similar to large Canberra hospitals should be considered for Goulburn Base Hospital’s redevelopment, says the council’s general manager.

The council is calling for far greater detail on car parking arrangements for the $120 million upgrade both during and after construction. The comments are contained in a formal response to an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project.

A recommendation to Tuesday night’s meeting requests an “urgent meeting” with Health Infrastructure NSW and the NSW Local Health District to discuss these matters. It asks that the former provide “options that minimise client, patients, visitors and staff car parking in neighbouring residential streets and take into account other highly trafficked facilities in the area, namely Goulburn High School and Victoria Park.”

The council also wants health authorities to hold a public meeting, inviting affected residents for their input.

Mr Bennett said it was important that Health Infrastructure solved the parking requirements “as a matter of urgency,” particularly given that preliminary construction was commencing.

“The amount of clients, patients, visitors and staff to the hospital requires, I believe, a more comprehensive parking solution than is being envisaged,” he said.

“This should include a multi-storey car park on the site to minimise on-street parking to service the future growth of the hospital.”

Mr Bennett said such facilities at Woden and Calvary Hospitals in Canberra worked very well.

The EIS, currently on public exhibition, outlines an increase of 54 car parking spots to 196, to be dispersed around the facility. 

The council has provided a preliminary response on the EIS but Mr Bennett says it can go no further until health authorities provide further information. 

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He told The Post  that he’d had one meeting with SNSWLHD chief executive Andrew Newton but a follow-up one had been cancelled. 

“I’ve had a briefing with councillors, saying that not only should the hospital look at the existing parking requirements but the needs for all vehicles coming on to the site,” Mr Bennett said. 

In preliminary comments on the EIS provided to Tuesday’s meeting, council planners said the project should be considered as a Traffic Generating Development, with Roads and Maritime Service input, given that Goldsmith Street was a State road.

They have also highlighted the document’s reference to a future application separate to the current one and following completion of works, to create a further 30 car parking spaces.

“The application needs to address the past parking deficiency on the site,” planners’ report stated.

“The development is making an existing situation worse despite the provision of additional car parking spaces, through the cumulative impacts. There needs to be transparency around this issue and the council encourages further discussion.”

Planners have also raised the possibility of emergency vehicles being hindered by construction trucks that could be lined up in Goldsmith Street.

Heritage matters

Mr Bennett did not believe the State was taking “shortcuts” with the hospital redevelopment but wanted Health to address issues that were part of every DA, particularly on heritage.

A report by heritage adviser Louise Thom recommends that photographic records be kept of all buildings deemed to be of moderate significance which are proposed for demolition.

Springfield House, built in 1927-28, and Lady Grose Home (1939) will be demolished to make way for the new four-storey hospital building.

“The significance of these two buildings will be lost in the proposed development. Both were subject to modifications in the 1950s and 1960s,” Ms Thom wrote.

But she believed the project had been carefully designed to consider the site’s overall heritage values and had retained the most important buildings, like the original 1887 EC Manfred designed central structure.

“It is also recognised that hospitals as a building type are subject to ongoing pressure for change in order to avoid obsolescence,” Ms Thom stated.

She has also recommended some landscaping changes, particularly around the central building, which she said should be more formal.

Council planners have pointed to “inconsistencies” in the documents. One section states no trees are to be removed while another reads that 54 are to be taken out. One of them is a Canary Island Date Palm in front of the former nurses quarters. The council wants this either retained, with the proposed car park design altered to suit, or transplanted as close as possible to the existing location.

They are also requesting a formal application to the council to grant a variation to building height. The LEP dictates a maximum eight-metre height but Health Infrastructure wants to construct a 25m high building.

Mr Bennett said he was very happy with all other consultation regarding the hospital.

“I think council is of the opinion that that the hospital is the region’s number one priority,” he said. 

The Health District has told The Post work was underway assessing parking solutions and that the project team would present engineering options to the council “in the near future.”

A date palm is proposed to be removed from the Goldsmith Street side of the hospital. The council wants it retained.Springfield House, behind, is proposed for demolition.

A date palm is proposed to be removed from the Goldsmith Street side of the hospital. The council wants it retained.Springfield House, behind, is proposed for demolition.

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