29 October 2019

Plans lodged for demolition of hospital buildings for SPIRE project

| Ian Bushnell
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Surgical Procedures, Interventional Radiology and Emergency (SPIRE) Centre

The buildings to be demolished to make way for the SPIRE project. Photo: DA application.

The ACT Government is moving ahead with the $500 million project to expand the Canberra Hospital, lodging demolition plans to clear the way for construction of the Surgical Procedures, Interventional Radiology and Emergency (SPIRE) Centre to future-proof health services on the Garran site.

The plans say existing Building 5 on Hospital Road, and Buildings 8 and 24 on Palmer Street, comprising more than 9,000 squares of floor space, will be demolished, as well as surrounding paved areas.

The demolition will also see a number of trees removed, services disconnected and landscaping of affected areas.

There are no registered trees, rare or endangered species or remnant eucalypts in the demolition area, but there are nine regulated trees, the removal of which will have to be approved by Transport Canberra and the City Services tree unit.

All other trees within the assessment areas can be removed without needing approval.

Twenty-one parking spaces will be temporarily removed as part of the demolition of Building 8 and the car park nearby, but an additional six spaces will be gained further south, adjacent to Building 9, resulting in a net loss of only 15 spaces.

The plans say demolition is not expected to generate any significant traffic during and after the proposed development.

The demolition plans come only days after Garran residents complained about the siting of the new Emergency Department entrance on Palmer Street and potential traffic and safety threats to children riding to and from Garran Primary School opposite the hospital on Gilmore Street.

The residents have launched a petition that also addresses concerns about parking and helicopter noise from the helipad.

The ACT Government and community are now in talks about those concerns but the ACT Health Directorate was not required to consult with the community before lodging the demolition application.

Demolition is expected to cost $2,773,800. Construction of the SPIRE project is due to start in 2021 and be completed in 2024.

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michael quirk7:08 pm 29 Oct 19

The government needs to investigate alternative strategies to address the growth needs of the hospital. This should include investigation of land to the west of Yamba Drive currently used for parking and previously for the CIT. A land bridge over Yamba Drive could integrate this land with the hospital.

There is a concern the government’s unstated intention is to expand the hospital by closing Garran primary school. The government should rule this out a as the school serves a strong community purpose and has strong enrolments.

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