A letter drop on Monday notified Peter Tilden that his quiet Oak Flats street would be used by construction companies to access Shellharbour Hospital as its redevelopment begins. On Tuesday the trucks started rolling in.
His neighbour across Tarra Crescent – whose back fence borders the hospital site – was notified in October that the redevelopment would see a public car park built right along her back fence.
Mel, who did not wish her surname to be used, said where there was now a wide expanse of grass – with the existing hospital some 50 metres away – there would soon be a 248-space car park.
It’s not that the residents are opposed to the state government’s $251 million redevelopment of the ageing hospital – in fact they are keen for it. However they – and other residents – feel that they are not getting enough information about the redevelopment, and its construction.
“I’ve lived here 30 years, and have never seen the hospital use this opening – which has a restricted width and just a rolled-over kerb – as an access point,” Mr Tilden said.
“Now how many trucks will be coming and going each day? For how long? What traffic or safety control is in place to protect residents and pedestrians? Who’s going to be responsible for any damage to the road?
“I’ve rung council, the department of planning and environment and the numbers listed on the letter I received from the builder – and I’m not getting any answers.”
Project Coordination based in Unanderra has been appointed by NSW Health Infrastructure to conduct the early works for the redevelopment. The main works contractor will be determined in 2019.
In its letter to residents, the construction company asked for permission to photograph the structural conditions of homes as part of a routine dilapidation report.
“Civil works are scheduled to begin in January 2019 with some site establishment commencing December 2018,” the letter stated.
“Project Coordination are very aware of the residential nature of the area. Please be assured that it has taken into serious consideration adjoining properties in the site establishment plan and the rules of conduct of subcontractors working on this site.”
In the letter from NSW Health Infrastructure of October 15, Mel discovered the car park that will stretch right along the site’s shared boundary with Tarra Crescent.
“I’ve got a young family, I’m worried about our privacy, our safety and the noise,” she said. “It’s such a massive site – why does the car park need to be so far away from the main facility and so close to our fence?”
A NSW Health Infrastructure spokesperson told the Mercury that a traffic engineer had assessed parking requirements for the redevelopment, given forecast increases in patients and staff.
“The early works currently underway on the site include parking enhancements to deliver 248 ground level spaces and the realignment of the site’s ring road to make way for the main works.
“Protecting neighbours’ privacy was a key consideration in the positioning of the car park, being as far away from the neighbouring fence-line as possible. The existing tree line will be maintained, as will the existing boundary fencing to the residential properties.
“The entrance/exit to the ground level car park will be via the existing hospital ring road.”
The spokesperson said suitable safe access for construction vehicles was required during construction.
“This will be in part via Tarra Crescent, with measures to be implemented to minimise impact and ensure the safety of residents.
“Our neighbours are one of our most important stakeholders throughout the redevelopment, and the project team will ensure neighbours are informed and consulted.”
The spokesperson said hospital staff and clinicians were also being consulted on the design of clinical spaces, with artist impressions and plans under development.
Construction is expected to be completed in 2021, with further refurbishment works to follow.
Residents are encouraged to contact the project team with questions and concerns via ISLHD-SHH-Redevelopment@health.nsw.gov.au.