In stating “Some still say…” that the hospital was built in the wrong place, Alf Sylvester’s otherwise excellent letter (Your Say, 23 Nov) implies that there is some uncertainty on the point. He and others may like to know the facts.
NSW Health’s EIS applications for the hospital states: "The NSW Government confirmed the selection of the Frenchs Forest site for the new Northern Beaches Hospital in 2006. This decision was informed by a robust qualitative analysis in determining the Frenchs Forest site for the new hospital.” (Northern Beaches Hospital SSI Application SSI 13_5982, Submissions Report/Preferred Infrastructure Report February 2014 page 42, available on the NSW Planning web site at NBH Stage 1 Submissions Report Final.pdf )
The attached pdf contains the relevant pages from the the Health Department’s 'Development Options Business Case', Nov 2005, on which the 2006 decision was based. It clearly places Frenchs Forest as a poor third on the all-important qualitative assessment. The choice of the Frenchs Forest site was based on the necessary roading upgrades costing $21.3 million, whereas the current published estimate is $500 million. The site’s “risk profile” (ie short-term obstacles) rated well.
So Frenchs Forest was the cheap (so they thought in 2005) and easy option, definitely NOT the best on long-term operational criteria, as was claimed.
Note that the 2006 decision was not reviewed or updated in October 2013 when the then Planning Minister signed the Order designating Frenchs Forest and kick-starting the project. Nor did NSW Planning question the choice of location, despite their own criteria requiring full and up-to-date data to support the application.
The other fundamental lie is that the site is central to its designated catchment area, the then LGAs of Manly, Warringah and Pittwater. This is manifestly false geographically, and there was a study done which placed the weighted demographic centre around Cromer.
I hope that you will find some way to publish this information, or at the very least to forward it to Mr Sylvester.
There aren't too many ways available for venting one's anger or frustration at some of the things happening in the world around us. One such escape valve is the good old Letter to the Editor, even if only a small proportion of them gets published. It is often well-nigh impossible to keep the discussion short enough for the newspapers. So rather that have them expire in some Editor's Trash bin, we'll preserve them for posterity here. Inevitably, though, some nuances will be lost for those unfamiliar with the background or the letter or article to which we are responding. But each is undoubtedly a miniature literary masterpiece, though you may find the themes become somewhat repetitive.