Cessnock Liberal councillor Rod Doherty has vowed to fight for the new Lower Hunter Hospital to be moved next to the Hunter Expressway “until the foundation stone is laid”.
Cr Doherty has been a vocal advocate for the hospital to be built along the expressway since before construction commenced in 2010.
The idea first came about when about 50 university town planning students visited Kurri Kurri in 2010 to do a comprehensive study on town and the impact of the Hunter Expressway.
“Their conclusions were that an emergency services precinct and regional hospital should be constructed in the expressway corridor,” he said.
2011, Cr Doherty heard talk from the NSW Government that they were planning to built a 400-bed regional hospital in the Lower Hunter to take the brunt off John Hunter Hospital.
He thought the expressway would be the ideal location, and after Hydro Aluminium closed in October 2012 he thought that would be a “perfect” site.
“It’s a massive parcel of land,” he said. “It would service right through to the Upper Hunter.”
Cr Doherty said he did not believe it was too late to move the hospital. He said the remediation that was underway at the Metford site could be completed and the land used for another purpose.
And while the councillor believes the government is locked into Metford, he said he will continue to push for them to change their minds.
“We’ll keep rattling the sabre until the foundation stones are laid,” he said.
Cessnock councillors have sought a meeting with Health Minister Brad Hazzard MP to urge him to consider moving the hospital.