Kurri's bid for regional hospital

KURRI Kurri Business Chamber's plans to have a 24-hour emergency services precinct and a regional teaching hospital built near the town have stepped up a gear with the projects now on the state government's books.

The two proposals are part of the town's "10 Big Strategies" to cash in on the Hunter Expressway.

Chamber president Rod Doherty said a number of meetings have been held with stakeholders, emergency services officials including minister Mike Gallacher, residents and business operators all supporting the plan in principle.

A spokesman for Mr Gallacher's office said all proposals such as the Kurri plan were welcome.

"These plans play an important role in shaping the future of communities," he said.

"We are taking this on board but due to the pressures on the state budget and ongoing capital works programs, this proposal is not being considered at this time."

The 10 Big Strategies stemmed from the chamber's 2030 Steering Committee formed to look at life in Kurri after the Hunter Expressway opened.

Committee chairman Garry O'Dell invited University of NSW town and planning faculty lecturers and students to help, giving them the opportunity to work on a "real life" project.

Mr Doherty said one site flagged for the hospital or emergency services precinct was the former Hunter Economic Zone site.

"But that all depends on land zoning and environmental issues," he said.

"These are not short-term plans, we're probably looking at a five-year plus project but at least it has the attention of the government."

The chamber's wishlist also includes: a co-ordinated directional sign system, town CBD and town civic design, restart Civic Week as a major town festival, preserve the town's country atmosphere balanced with new development, encourage a diversity of developments and employment generators in the Hunter Economic Zone, promote a low-energy community, encourage major energy creating recycling complex at the Hunter Economic Zone and integrate the management of business and community development.

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