The Manly community will lose its much-loved local hospital when the new Northern Beaches Hospital opens in 2018. However the Manly Hospital site will not be sold off to private developers - it will be retained for community use. That's the promise from local MP and State Treasurer Mike Baird.
And the community will have a say on the future of the 7 hectare, hilltop site.
The Manly Hospital Community Advisory Group has been set up to facilitate community discussion, with group member Denise Keen kicking off the consultation process at recent local resident precinct meetings.
Speaking at Little Manly precinct meeting this week Ms Keen said that while nothing has been ruled in, some things have definitely been ruled out.
"We have no preconceived ideas about what happens on the Manly Hospital site," Ms Keen said.
"But there will not be a hospital or a trauma centre on the site. That's not going to happen. And we are not selling it off to developers."
She said ideas put forward so far include mental health facilities, a wellbeing centre, a rehabilitation centre, affordable housing, aged care facilities and a centre for terminally-ill children currently being cared for at Bear Cottage, but who are obliged to leave once they turn 18.
Suggestions from the precinct meeting included moving the Royal Far West Children's Home up to the hospital site, and handing hospital land between the cliff line and Collins Beach back to the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Other options include attracting innovation to the site, particularly information technology, or a village-style development with restaurants and cafes. All the buildings on the site, except those with heritage listing, are slated for demolition, meaning purpose-built facilities can be built once the site's future has been resolved.
Local member Mike Baird has said he favours, but is not committed to, building aged care facilities, and disability service provider Sunnyfield has already expressed interest in the site. The advisory group, which had its first meeting late last year, aims to engage the broad Manly community in the discussion and identify two or three options to put before the state government.
The group is chaired by Kathryn Ridge of Ridge legal. Members include representatives from Manly Council, Manly Community Centre, Salvation Army, HEAL Northern Beaches, Manly Hospital Auxiliary, Just Better Care and Manly Chamber of Commerce, as well as Manly MP Mike Baird and community members Judith Burgess, Anne Lanham, Robert McKenzie and Denise Keen.
The Little Manly precinct meeting also discussed the Northern Beaches Hospital redevelopment project after hearing speakers for and against the project.
The new Level 5 hospital is progressing at the Frenchs Forest site, despite ongoing concerns about traffic congestion and the destruction of rare bushland and vital wildlife corridors.
Dr Michele Franks, Director of Emergency Medicine at Manly Hospital and Clinician Lead on the Northern Beaches Redevelopment Project said there was no doubt the Northern Beaches needed a new high-level hospital.
She said the current set up of two small hospitals - one here at Manly, the other at Mona Vale - meant medical services were split up and complex treatments were not able to be provided. She said the new Northern Beaches Hospital would have a total of 420 beds, of which at least 250 would be public - a big increase from the present situation of Manly and Mona Vale providing a total of 250 beds, of which 170 are public.
Responding to community concerns about the lack of emergency medical facilities in Manly after 2018, Mr Baird has suggested a 24-hour GP clinic at Queenscliff, which would at least provide treatment for minor illnesses and injuries.
More information about the Manly Hospital site and the advisory group is at mikebaird.com.au/mhcag Residents can email the group via email@example.com
Should Nos 34 & 36 Stuart Street on Little Manly Beach be sold? Frankly, I don’t know but I'm certainly not in support of this rash and rushed decision which was passed on Monday night (11/2/13) by the Liberal majority.
As a Councillor I have not been given any alternative options; I haven’t seen the plans for the park that Council commissioned for this land less than 6 months ago; I have no idea what the land would be worth once it was carved up into even smaller parcels; I don’t know what other assets Council has that could be sold to meet any shortfall; I don’t know how much Council has raised in Section 94 Contributions specially for this Little Manly area.
…… in fact as a Councillor I’ve been given absolutely no information to support this sale. Where is the due process in this matter? Why isn’t Council following proper procedures?
No’s 34 and 36 Stuart Street were purchased for the express purpose of one day being incorporated into a new community park, and they have been reserved for ‘Open Space’ for approximately 50 years.
The message that ‘rates will go up and Council can’t afford this plan’ is misleading. Council has many assets on its books which could be classified ‘surplus to requirements’ – why aren’t we investigating the option of selling another asset rather than foreshore land. Where is the due process in making this decision?
The Mayor, Jean Hay, has decided these properties will be sold to pay off the debt of Council's purchase of No. 40 Stuart Street which is the land closest to the existing reserve. Where is the open and transparent process in this decision? Where is the community consultation? What are our other options? Why are we selling such a valuable asset to justify the purchase of another? It just doesn't make sense.
Resident members of the Little Manly Precinct have got behind the Manly Women’s Shelter and raised $6,600 over the weekend by selling raffle tickets, receiving a generous cheque from a local family, and holding a community dinner on Sunday night (21st August) at the Manly Yacht Club.
This is in addition to $520 raised in May when a team from the Little Manly Precinct competed in the Rotary Fun Run.
With the support of Manly Council, they sold tickets in the Corso on Saturday morning and were touched by the number of men who supported the Shelter by buying tickets. They then held a community Paella night, complete with authentic music being streamed live from a radio station in Mexico via the internet!
The precinct has also been instrumental in creating ‘Welcome Home’ packs which contain toilettes and items the women need when they arrive at the Shelter. So far 30 packs have been created from donations of items, with a further 50 to come.
Great work everyone!
Candy Bingham, Manly Ward Councillor on Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations and community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.