Ward 2 Councillor Romola Hollywood and ward 3 Councillor Shae Foenander have come together to support the sale of council land to build a paediatric multidisciplinary clinic in Lawson.
They defended the council’s recent decision in the wake of queries about the sale raised in the Gazette.
“It is important that we don’t lose sight of the bigger picture and what might be delivered here,” said Cr Hollywood.
“We have a desperate need to improve access to health services in the Mountains. The opportunity to turn a difficult, constrained and unused site, which includes a heritage-listed sub-station that must be protected, into a paediatric facility in the heart of Lawson is in the community’s interest to support.”
Greens councillor, Brent Hoare, questioned why there had not been a more open process before approval was given to sell the land in Loftus St to Dr Arman Babajanyan. And unsuccessful ward 2 candidate, Rob Thompson, said there should have been public consultation or a public tender.
But Cr Hollywood said the clinic would complement the existing health and community services in Lawson.
“We also need to remember, this is also only the first step. A full development application process to meet the zoning and heritage requirements must be undertaken and there will be opportunities for the community to have a say,” she said.
Cr Foenander added: “As a nurse, I see the daily struggles that parents face with needing to travel distances to Penrith, Westmead and further afield to receive paediatric care for their children. This only adds to their hardship.
“The sale of land for the purpose of providing a much-needed and long-overdue service in the Mountains that caters for children should be viewed as a positive step forward. There are many young families in the Mountains. The demand for specialised paediatric services is only going to increase.”
Cr Daniel Myles said the proposed facility, so close to the railway line, would be very helpful for local families. And Cr Chris Van der Kley said: “If Dr Babajanyan can get this project off the ground, it will be an absolute benefit for the whole of the Mountains.”