The future of the Manly Hospital site became clearer this week when Manly Council announced approval had now been given for the site to be zoned for health and environmental use following 2.5 years of negotiation with the Department of Planning.
This will ensure that the site can't be sold for residential, hotel or business-related activities once the hospital closes in 2018, following the opening of the new Northern Beaches Hospital in Frenchs Forest.
Suitable uses under the new zoning SP2 Health Services Facility include aged care, rehabilitation, mental health facility, and general medical services.
The land surrounding the built up site, has been zoned E2 Environmental Conservation. This is particularly important because it now means that the land below the cliff line at the rear of Collins Flat cannot be built on and is protected from any kind of development.
The staff at Manly Council are to be congratulated for achieving an excellent outcome for the community.
An advisory group reporting to Local Member and Premier, Mike Baird, is seeking input from locals on what they would like to happen to the site. You can complete their survey here.
The Manly Hospital Community Advisory Group, established by Local Member and Premier Mike Baird, would like to hear your views on the proposed use of the Manly Hospital campus site once the hospital is closed in 2018.
Some of the suggestions so far include affordable housing, an art and culture centre, aged care support, drug and alcohol support and rehabilitation and a GP Super Clinic.
Add your views by completing the survey here.
About the new Northern Beaches Hospital
The Northern Beaches Hospital is to be built on a 6.5 hectare site at Frenchs Forest, bounded by Frenchs Forest Road West, Warringah Road, Wakehurst Parkway and The Forest High School
The hospital will have capacity for 423 beds and will deliver surgical, paediatric, obstetric, inpatient mental health services and hold an emergency department.
The NSW Government has committed to commencing construction of the new Northern Beaches Hospital’s Frenchs Forest campus by 2015, with it opening in 2018.
You can find out more by downloading the Fact Sheet below.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.