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In May 2017 the NSW Government gave Byron Shire Council the opportunity to purchase the old Mullumbimby Hospital site. The sale was finalised in December 2018.
In January 2019 Council started remediating the site which included the demolition of the existing buildings and removal of asbestos and contaminated material. This work is ongoing. We are hoping to have it completed by the end of 2021.
For decades the Mullumbimby Hospital provided valued medical services and support to the community. The hospital closed in 2016 when the new Byron Central Hospital at Ewingsdale was completed.
The community campaigned for the site, which has a long and well-documented history of asbestos contamination, to be retained for community use and in May 2017 NSW Health announced it would sell it to Byron Shire Council for $1.
The sale was finalised in December 2018 and work on the remediation of the site started in January 2019 and is ongoing. We are hoping to have it finalised by the end of 2021.
The old hospital contained fire-retardant asbestos that was sprayed on the timber in the roof. Over time the glue which held the asbestos in place deteriorated and the asbestos became friable (loose) and dropped into cavities which made renovation prohibitive.
The birthing unit did not contain asbestos but investigation and analysis of the options determined that retaining it whilst other buildings were being demolished would be costly and would also constrain future development of the site.
The demolition of the buildings was detailed in a number of reports published in Council agendas in 2017 and 2018.
The remediation cost is estimated to be more than $3 million. Council will pay for this but costs will be recouped from the development of the site although the type of development is not yet known.
Once safely remediated, Council will develop the site to recoup the costs of demolition and remediation. It has been agreed between the NSW Government and Council that any development will include community use and a range of housing. Council's Planning staff are working on this next stage.
Twenty-one individuals and representatives from community groups made up the Mullumbimby Hospital Site Project Reference Group (MHSPRG) and they worked with Council in 2018 to consider potential uses for the best outcome for the future use of the site for Byron Shire Council, the Brunswick Valley community and its other stakeholders.
The MHSPRG gave the following recommendations to Council in November 2018:
Byron Shire Council
Phone: 02 6626 7000