A $6.8-MILLION expansion at Dudley Private Hospital barely attracted a second glance at Orange City Council on Tuesday night, until councillors entertained the idea of adding a bicycle rack.
Councillors approved the proposal, which included 30 extra single rooms for patients and shared rooms converted to single ones, increasing the total number of rooms to 79.
Plans also included support areas including administration, consultation rooms, a group room, a patient dining and lounge room for activities, a small extension to the existing dining room facing March Street and an outdoor courtyard next to the main extension.
A new driveway access from Wolsley Street will provide a drop-off zone, truck loading zone and 10 parking spaces, but it will not be able to be used between 6pm and 7am to limit noise.
I'm not expecting the actual patients to be riding to and from hospital, but for staff and visitors it's certainly appropriate.Councillor Joanne McRae
Councillor Joanne McRae asked for a bike rack to be included to encourage active transport.
"I'm not expecting the actual patients to be riding to and from hospital, but for staff and visitors it's certainly appropriate - if there's bike racks, they might ride there," she said.
"I'm certainly aware that doctors are cyclists - we had a provision added to the Carrington Hotel."
Acting development services director Paul Johnson said a condition could easily be added to include a rack either inside or outside, provided it did not interfere with parking space layout or traffic flow within the car park.
"There would be plenty of places we could entertain such an idea," he said.
However, councillors were not satisfied the development could proceed in the event the hospital could not find a suitable location and instead suggested a rack be included.
Mayor Reg Kidd and councillors Glenn Taylor and Kevin Duffy declared they had never or rarely seen council-provided bike racks outside Woolworths, the Hotel Canobolas or the council used.
"I drive all over town and you go to the one at the Canobolas, you might see one there every six months," Cr Duffy said.
However, councillor Stephen Nugent said the rack outside the library was regularly used and Cr McRae said she had used the one outside the council when she needed to visit during the day.
"One person's lived experience is not a metric of reality - I've just disproved the bike racks have never been used because I've used them," she said.
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