DIGITAL impression of the proposed $8 million Byron private hospital at Ewingsdale.
DIGITAL impression of the proposed $8 million Byron private hospital at Ewingsdale. Contributed

Why council doesn't want this $8 million hospital

A DEVELOPMENT proposal for a new private hospital at Byron Bay remains alive despite Byron Shire Council twice recommending it be rejected.

The Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel yesterday met to consider for the second time the $8 million plus proposal for the hospital, located at 15 McGettigans Lane Ewingsdale, not far from the Byron Central Hospital.

The three storey health facility would include specialist consulting rooms, a day operating theatre, a pharmacy, 12 overnight stay units, a cafe, plus basement and ground level parking.

But concerns about the traffic impact on the intersection of Ewingsdale Rd and McGettigans Lane remain a major stumbling block.

If the project is given the green light, a roundabout on the busy intersection is essential.

That's not cheap.

DIGITAL impression of the proposed $8 million Byron private hospital at Ewingsdale.
DIGITAL impression of the proposed $8 million Byron private hospital at Ewingsdale. Contributed

And Byron Shire Council has predicted it won't get funding for the job until after 2023.

A council report said that despite the developer offering to pay almost 4% of the roundabout's cost, that would "not resolve the funding shortfall... with traffic impacts associated with the development remaining unacceptable."

In the same report to the last meeting in October, Byron Shire Council staff cited several related issues including the visual impact of the proposal on the rural setting, lack of suitable vehicle access, and the proposed building height exceeding the maximum 9m.

Ten submissions were received from the public raising similar concerns.

Chair of the Northern JRRP Garry West said Byron Shire Council yesterday had recommended again to reject the proposal.

However Mr West said the developer Brunsmed Pty Ltd had yesterday offered to mitigate several of the issues.

He said it had offered to boost its voluntary contribution to the roundabout, lower the building height and its overall size, plus stage the development's construction to minimise any immediate traffic impacts.

Mr West said the panel now wanted the council and the applicant to finalise draft conditions of consent and a plan of management for the hospital.

"Once we see the final conditions we will give it further consideration," he said.

The Northern JRRP is expected to meet again to consider the project on June 20.