Residents file a protest
RESIDENTS near the site of a proposed medical super clinic in Grafton claim there is a groundswell of opposition to the development.
People like Katie Vincent and Kay Alden, who live near the corner of Clarence and Fitzroy streets, Grafton, where developers Ochre Health have decided to build the $5.5 million development, say they want a clinic for Grafton, but believe the siting is wrong.
They say the clinic will create traffic problems as more than 300 cars a day will access the complex. They are also worried about the noise coming from the clinic during its construction and once it begins operation, the appearance of the building in a noted heritage area of the city and the possible destruction of some of the large fig trees on the block.
They also claim that Clarence Valley Council has not kept residents adequately informed about the proposed clinic.
The residents are also worried what will happen with the building should the clinic fail and Ochre Health decide to leave the area.
“The development has been poorly thought out,” said Ms Vincent.
“The increase in traffic into the streets will create problems for people coming into and leaving the clinic.
“There are no strategies for ‘calming’ traffic flow in the streets where cars will be coming to the clinic and leaving it.
“We also have concerns for the many pedestrians who come across Grafton Bridge who will be crossing these streets with all this extra traffic using them.”
Ms Vincent said the planning for the clinic shows an expected 30,498 patients using the clinic in year one, rising to almost 48,000 in its eighth year of operation.
Mrs Alden claimed that residents have been kept in the dark about the development.
She said many had no idea the super clinic was coming to the site.
“A number of parishioners didn’t know anything about the super clinic,” Mrs Alden said.
“They believed the site was going to be used for accommodation for the elderly on the river bank.
“The first they knew of the development was a letter they received from council on January 14.”
Council deputy general manager environment and economic services Des Schroder said residents have been vigorously lobbying councillors.
He said the time for public display of the development application had been extended until February 26.
Mr Schroder said he did not think the traffic flows to the clinic would be significantly different to those that occurred when the site was a functioning school.
He said the heritage considerations were also not as black and white as the objectors believe.
“While a lot of houses in Grafton represent an era of heritage building, when there’s building on a clear block it’s hard to say you have to build a heritage building,” he said.
“And then you have KFC just across the road, which is hardly a building with heritage value.”
Mr Schroder said there was a time imperative to use Federal Government money that has been granted to establish 30 super clinics in rural areas.
He said the development application will go to council at its March meeting.