Where would the new hospital be located?
The preferred site is state-owned land to the west of Kay McDuff Drive, about 5km south of Bundaberg’s central business district.
What are the benefits of the preferred site?
Key features and benefits of the preferred site include:
- Size – It’s about 60 hectares in area, which will provide opportunities for future growth and expansion as needed.
- Flood protection – It’s on higher ground, and accessible during flooding.
- Accessibility – It’s close to several key roads, providing opportunities for multiple access points.
- Natural attributes – It’s large and relatively flat, providing the opportunity to develop a health and education precinct over time, and also offers a natural environment that is peaceful and open, promoting healing and recovery.
- Access – The site is suitable for helicopter access, close to the airport and new Aeromedical Base, and close to the emergency services complex on Wyllie Street as well as education providers.
- Convenience – Due to its proximity to major roads, the site is well located for patients, carers and families from across the Wide Bay Burnett region who are travelling to access specialist health services in Bundaberg.
How was the site chosen and how many other sites were considered?
Extensive investigations have been undertaken to identify and review suitable sites in and around Bundaberg for a hospital that meets the long-term needs of our Wide Bay and broader Wide Bay Burnett regional communities.
The comprehensive evaluation process considered more than 40 sites, including more than 20 privately-owned sites put forward through a publicly advertised expression of interest process.
A multidisciplinary team of technical experts identified the site as being the most suitable, after assessing it against criteria vital to developing and future-proofing a new hospital. Considerations included:
- a range of technical criteria to ensure the hospital would be able to deliver on its core purpose
- providing sufficient space for flexibility to respond to anticipated future growth
- providing space that would allow for opportunities to collaborate to increase economic, community and social value by co-locating with other services, including education and research
- addressing flood protection issues experienced at the current Bundaberg Hospital site and throughout much of the Bundaberg region
- accessibility and proximity to the existing road network
- impact on surrounding residents and services
- accessibility to public transport and active transport options for patients, families, staff and volunteers.
Is the site close to emergency services?
Yes. The site is central to the emergency services complex on Wyllie Street, the Queensland Ambulance Station on Bourbong Street and the new Aeromedical Base at the airport, which are all within about 5km.
Is the site affected by flooding?
One of the key criteria for the new hospital site was that it had to be at or above a 0.2% annual exceedance probability (AEP). The AEP is the standard way to describe flood likelihood in Queensland and provides a percentage chance that a flood of a given size or larger will occur in any given year. A flood with a 0.2% AEP has a one in 500 chance of being exceeded in any given year.
Does the site allow for safe helicopter access?
Investigations to date have identified that the site is suitable for helicopter takeoff and landings.
The project team will be engaging with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and Bundaberg Regional Council regarding flight path and helicopter operations to further inform the business case.
Does the site allow for future expansion when needed?
Yes. Having a site of around 60 hectares in size provides us with the flexibility needed to accommodate future growth and expansion. It also provides space to allow for opportunities to collaborate to increase economic, community and social value by co-locating with other services, including education and research.
What consultation has occurred so far regarding site selection?
Consultation with senior technical representatives from several organisations was undertaken as part of the site selection evaluation process and due diligence investigations. The project team will be continuing those discussions as it progresses further through planning and design activities for the business case.
Have impacts to nearby properties and businesses been considered?
Investigations suggest that adjacent developments will be minimally impacted by the proposed hospital development, although we acknowledge there may be disruptions during a future construction phase. We would consult and work with surrounding properties and businesses to ensure any impacts are minimised.
Will the business case consider road and utility infrastructure connections?
Yes. To help understand the impacts of the hospital project, the project team is engaging with a variety of service providers, including the local council, to identify what supporting infrastructure works are likely to be required and associated costs.
Engagement will focus on campus roads and car parking, external road upgrades and connections, utility connections (such as electricity, water, drainage sewerage and telecommunications), and other site infrastructure. These works will be factored into the potential capital cost and help to inform the detailed business case.
Has the provision of public and active transport been considered?
Yes. Public passenger transport and active transport (such as cycling or walking) options are being considered as part of the detailed business case. We recognise that their integration to the hospital site will be a community priority. Providing accessible, safe, efficient and attractive travel alternatives to private motor vehicles is a high priority for the project team and we intend to explore these opportunities further with relevant parties.
What approach is there on environmental management and cultural heritage?
We’ll be completing an environmental assessment report as part of the project and are committed to maintaining the site’s character and surrounds through the natural environment.
We’ll also be engaging with the local cultural heritage party regarding a potential archaeological survey to inform the development of a cultural heritage management plan to support the project.
What about sustainability?
The project’s principal consultant is exploring a range of environmentally sustainable initiatives.
Some initiatives include maximising access to natural daylight and ventilation, the use of innovative building features, sustainable materials and passive solar techniques. The design will also take into account energy use, long-term carbon sequestration and integrating green spaces throughout the precinct.
The site is near an industrial area – will this have any impacts?
The site has been selected with consideration to surrounding land uses.
Investigations to date indicate that given the distance between the site and surrounding industrial activities, anticipated impacts will be negligible. Our architects are developing a master plan that proposes to incorporate vegetation buffers that will address impacts such as air, light and noise.
The site’s masterplan and the hospital design will take the surrounding users into account to ensure, as much as possible, that the hospital does not encroach on its neighbouring users.
Does the site allow for safe access to adequate parking? Will we have to pay?
Car parking is fundamental to any hospital design and it played an important part in determining the preferred site.
The large site will allow for ground level and/or multi-storey parking options to support the new hospital. Parking will be examined as a separate project but will closely align with the redevelopment.
We recognise the challenges our patients, carers, visitors and hospital staff face with the limited parking at the existing hospital, so providing safe, accessible, sufficient and affordable parking is a high priority.
Is the site an environmental reserve and will there be tree clearing?
The site is owned by the Queensland Government and is currently held as an environmental reserve. All environmental legislation will be complied with in planning for this essential infrastructure, including state and federal legislation relating to tree clearing.
Given the scale of the site, the design team is working to incorporate as much of the existing tree coverage into the design as possible to create a natural healing environment for patients of the new hospital.
Will there be direct access to the site from the Bundaberg Ring Road given it is a designated limited access road?
The detailed business case will consider the most appropriate access solutions to the surrounding road network to ensure we make the most of the site’s strategic location and accessibility for staff, patients and visitors.
Where to from here?
Now that we have a preferred site, the project team will continue its ongoing discussions with stakeholders about internal and external road upgrades and connections, service utilities, emergency service access, public transport and other supporting infrastructure requirements and costs.
The detailed business case will provide a greater level of analysis to help the State Government make informed decisions about the hospital’s future design, staging and funding.
We’re also committed to keeping our local regional communities informed as we progress this important project.