Bethesda plan gains green light

An artist’s impression of the addition to Bethesda Hospital.
An artist’s impression of the addition to Bethesda Hospital.

Last week, the Town of Claremont approved the development application 5-3 that would add a new recovery room, staff amenity facilities, an administration and storage area and mechanical plant room spaces at the riverside end of the building

Hospital board chairman Neale Fong said the new operating theatres would make the not-for-profit, 70-year-old organisation more commercially viable.

‘These two new theatres will replace two very old theatres that are not suitable for the surgeries we wish to do,’ Dr Fong told councillors.

‘The volume of surgeries will stay the same but we will be able to do more complex surgeries in the future.

‘It will take time for the theatres to ramp up and they will have minimum impact on staffing levels.’

But Victoria Avenue resident Ainslie de Vos told councillors at the meeting that the addition would create more parking problems for nearby residents.

‘There’s not nearly enough parking because it’s causing concerns for people as far away as Princess Road,’ Ms de Vos said.

‘Bethesda is providing a valued service to the community but it is also adversely affecting people in the neighbourhood.’

Dr Fong said the hospital would add 27 car bays to an area along the foreshore ” approved by the WA Planning Commission and Swan River Trust last year despite Claremont recommending refusal ” that would mean the facility exceeded the number of bays required by the town’s Town Planning Scheme.

Cr Chris Mews said the proposal was not in the community interest.

Cr Mews said a previous ‘massive expansion’ had led to the council imposing a two-hour parking restriction on Victoria Avenue that caused hospital staff to park on the nearby Princess Road.

Cr Paul Kelly said while he agreed with some comments against the proposal, ‘I’m struggling to find how we can reasonably reject the application’.