Taxpayer money that was supposed to go towards an 800-space multi-storey car park will instead be spent on demolition, loading bays, and "minor road works" around Wagga Base Hospital.
The 800-space car park was announced by Health Minister Brad Hazzard in the lead-up to the 2018 Wagga byelection, when he promised a $30 million multi-storey car park for Wagga Base Hospital.
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A Health Infrastructure spokeswoman said the $30 million figure factored in other works outside the multi-storey car park itself.
"Additional works include associated building demolition and improvements to service vehicle access in the loading dock area," the spokeswoman said.
🎶🎶🎶We are going to dig, dig, a big hole in the ground🎶🎶🎶🎶 at Wagga Wagga Base Hospital Stage 3 & the multi story 800 space car park ( taking it to 1200 + car spaces). Tenders out today! Excitement plus. @NSWHealth . @LiberalNSW @NSWNationals 4 Wagga pic.twitter.com/ghiGRkXf8a— Brad Hazzard (@BradHazzard) September 4, 2018
Wagga City councillor Dan Hayes said this wasn't a $30 million car park at all, but a scaled-down version masquerading as one.
"What is confirmed with those responses is the promise has been broken. Brad Hazzard has broken a promise and he's trying to convince us that he didn't, and it's all garbage," Councillor Hayes said.
"This is going to be problematic for the residents, for the staff, for patients, and the visitors for decades to come because in 2021 Brad Hazzard has now broken his promise."
Murray Street resident Kevin McMahon, who lives right next to the hospital, said he thought the government's response was disingenuous.
"The government, all they want to do is tell you a heap of lies. Why do the government do what they do? They just treat the voters like idiots, they really do," Mr McMahon said.
"If you want to park out the front and if you're not there at 6 o'clock in the morning, you just won't get a park."
The 84-year-old lives with his 83-year-old wife, who receives daily visits from carers who often struggle to find a park due to the number of hospital visitors who park on his street.
On one occasion the carers received a fine for parking on the nature strip while attending to Mr McMahon, who was having a heart attack at the time.
Mr McMahon said the parking situation is "ridiculous", and anticipates the problem to continue due to the scaled-down nature of the multi-storey car park development.
The multi-storey car park was scaled down due to the placement of the incoming UNSW Biomedical Sciences Centre, which encroaches on the original multi-storey car park plan.
When The Daily Advertiser asked why that site was chosen and whether Brad Hazzard signed off on that decision, a Health Infrastructure spokeswoman said it was a joint decision.
"Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD), Health Infrastructure (HI) and the University of NSW (UNSW) worked together to determine the most suitable location for the new UNSW Biomedical Sciences Centre on the Wagga Wagga Base Hospital campus," she said.
"As part of the master planning process, the site for the new education facility for UNSW was identified as the most appropriate due to a number of factors including a location that does not impact the Wagga Wagga Base Hospital's health service delivery and its access to key entry points on campus."
Here is the full response from Health Infrastructure:
"At the completion of the $431 million Wagga Wagga Health Service Redevelopment Stage 3 and the $30 million car park project there will be 900 free car parking spaces across the health campus, which will more than double the car park spaces on the campus.
The $30 million car park project will deliver the multi-storey car park plus two on campus parking areas that are designed to improve access and usage by staff, patients and visitors.
Additional works include associated building demolition and improvements to service vehicle access in the loading dock area.
Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD), Health Infrastructure (HI) and the University of NSW (UNSW) worked together to determine the most suitable location for the new UNSW Biomedical Sciences Centre on the Wagga Wagga Base Hospital campus.
As part of the master planning process, the site for the new education facility for UNSW was identified as the most appropriate due to a number of factors including a location that does not impact the Wagga Wagga Base Hospital's health service delivery and its access to key entry points on campus.
The $30 million funding covers planning, design & delivery of:
- multi storey car park
- two additional car parking areas
- demolition of buildings to make way for the parking
- improving service vehicle access in loading dock area.
- minor road works throughout the campus to improve traffic flow."
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