ENVIRONMENTAL approval has been given for the new Busselton Hospital – paving the way for work to begin as early as next month.
Construction is set to start on the $120.45 million health campus as soon as the successful builder is chosen from the four shortlisted for the project.
Health Minister Dr Kim Hames said the project had received approval from the Federal Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, while appeals against a state vegetation clearing permit had been dismissed.
The Federal Minister for the Environment had dismissed the appeals as a package of mitigations and off sets would address environmental impacts and achieve long-term benefits, Dr Hames said.
“Good planning and design has allowed us to reduce the number of trees that will be removed from 238 to 156 and we will plant up to 500 new trees as originally proposed,” he added.
“Possums will be moved to a 420ha secure enclosure in the Perup Sanctuary near Manjimup. All ground-based predators have been removed from the Perup enclosure.”
Health campus redevelopment project coordinator Rory Stemp said possums in the construction area would be permanently relocated to the Perup Sanctuary prior to removal of the trees.
“Because the number of possums fluctuate throughout the year, it is not possible to say precisely how many will be moved, or what proportion this will represent of the total number on the site. However, the Department of Environment and Conservation expect that about 20 possums will be involved,” he said.
“The possum and rehabilitation plans will be published on the project website.”
State Treasurer and Vasse MLA Troy Buswell said it was great news because the final hurdle had been cleared in progressing the new hospital.
“There were some in the community who claimed the hospital wouldn’t achieve environmental approval. Clearly it has received a tick, first from the state and then from the Commonwealth.
“It’s now all systems go. This is a massive project, done in an environmentally-sensitive way that can be delivered.
“The tender process has now closed and the four preferred builders are being assessed.
“My hope is that the letting of the construction contract will have a significant impact on the local economy.
“I think it will be the largest project in the Capes region.”
Mayor Ian Stubbs said it was fantastic news.
“It seems the Government has now cleared all the hurdles. The community has been looking forward to seeing something take place on the ground. It appears this will not be long off.”