Land grab: Councillor calls for ban on DPI move to CBD | Poll

OPEN SPACE: Cr Kevin Duffy wants the old hospital site to become a park rather than office space. Photo: CARLA FREEDMAN 0713cfduffy1
OPEN SPACE: Cr Kevin Duffy wants the old hospital site to become a park rather than office space. Photo: CARLA FREEDMAN 0713cfduffy1

An Orange City councillor has attacked plans for the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) to move to the CBD saying the chosen site should become a park.

Cr Kevin Duffy said the former base hospital site in Prince Street was an ideal location for a city park and should not be filled up with a government office block.

“I have been opposed to it always,” he said on Friday.

“In 100 years time or 50 years time it is going to be needed as open space.”

He said Orange would not have Cook and Robertson parks if they had not been designated for open space many years ago.

Cr Duffy said the DPI owned 152 hectares of land on Forest Road near the future Southern Feeder Road which would be a better location for the offices.

“Why can’t they put it out there where there will be good roads and good access?” he said.

“They would be closer to the airport out there.”

Cr Duffy also said the DPI would place big demands on street parking and affect shops and residences in nearby streets.

“All those businesses are going to suffer,” he said.

“All it is going to do is create congestion where it is.

“Look at the parking congestion we’ve got out at the [new] hospital.

“It will be just a shemozzle.”

Cr Duffy said that with a cafe, restaurant and bar planned for the DPI site there would be limited benefits to cafes and other businesses in the surrounding area.

“It is not going to be a great benefit to the little businesses around there,” he said.

Cr Duffy said he would seeking talks with the state government to get it to change its mind over the planned move.

“I’ll be contacting the relevant ministers,” he said.

Cr Duffy also said if there was a change of government at the next election due in March, 2019 the incoming government could change the plans.

Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair announced on Tuesday the DPI would move its 700 staff from its current Kite Street location to the former base hospital site once its lease expired in November 2020.

A $70 million three-storey building would be constructed on the site with work to start early next year.

He said the work would create 220 construction jobs and create a “more-than $30 million” boost to the local economy.

The former ambulance station on Anson Street would be turned into a restaurant, bar and cafe for DPI staff and the community.

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