Better hospital parking, lighting and housing

SPEAKING OF PARKING: Lismore City Coucil’s executive director of sustainable development Brent McAlister (left) and Northern Rivers Area Health District CEO Chris Crawford.
SPEAKING OF PARKING: Lismore City Coucil’s executive director of sustainable development Brent McAlister (left) and Northern Rivers Area Health District CEO Chris Crawford.

IMPROVED parking, higher density housing and better street lighting in the area surrounding Lismore Base Hospital were among the ideas hatched by a three-day "charrette" (workshop) held by Lismore City Council and the Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) last week.

Development in the hospital precinct will be guided by a draft master-plan to be drawn up as a result of the charrette.

The $80 million hospital redevelopment involves building a new Emergency Department and renal dialysis unit, and an improved medical imaging facility. Some health services currently housed in the Lismore CBD will be brought up to the hospital.

The charrette was held to consider the neighbouring residential streets around the hospital, where many people park because parking in front of the hospital is often hard to find.

"We're going to create parking bays in the streets now, which should give us about 30% more parking than the haphazard way people park now," the council's executive director of sustainable development, Brent McAlister said.

"We've resolved to form a Health Precinct Steering Group, involving council, the Health Department and the University Centre for Rural Health."

Mr McAlister said a lack of one-and two-bedroom housing units has been identified and would be addressed by creating more units or dual occupancies that would be close to the shopping square and the hospital to meet the needs of medical students and older people who liked to live near their hospital.

"It will mean, in time, that there is denser housing in the precinct, and that will mean greater housing choice."

NNSWLHD chief executive Chris Crawford said the charrette had created "a way forward" and the steering committee will meet in the next few weeks to move things along.

"The charrette was a giant brainstorming exercise in which we had key players identifying issues and working out how to resolve them," he said.

"It was clear the priorities in the community were car parking, traffic flows, noise reduction and the effect of the redevelopment on the residential amenity."

Mr Crawford said the health service was the biggest employer in Lismore; the $80 million funding was for the largest capital works ever undertaken here and the biggest sum ever allocated to the Base Hospital - twice the amount given for the Mental Health Unit and three times the amount for the Cancer Centre.

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