Tweed election result decides new hospital site

THE NEW TWEED Valley Hospital will be built on a parcel of land at Cudgen, after the Coalition was returned to power in New South Wales.

Incumbent Nationals member Geoff Provest was re-elected to the seat of Tweed in Saturday’s state election.

As at 9am on Sunday, initial counting has Mr Provest, who was first elected to the seat in 2009, leading his Country Labor rival, Craig Elliot by around 15% (47.12% to 32.20%).

In an exclusive interview with myGC, Mr Provest said that the election had been a ‘referendum on the hospital’, the location of which had been the cause of much debate for the local community.

“The site, picked by Health Infrastructure NSW, is going to go down south at Cudgen,” Mr Provest confirmed.

“There was a lot of debate, for and against, and the people made a wise decision, I believe.”

An artist’s impression of the new Tweed Valley Hospital. Image: Health NSW

The parcel of land, on Cudgen Road opposite Kingscliff TAFE, will allow space for the $534 million facility to undergo future expansion as necessary.

It will house 450 beds on seven-and-a-half hectares of land, leaving 10 hectares around the site vacant.

“Some believe it should have been protected as state agricultural land. But if the choice became between a sweet potato and a hospital bed, a hospital wins it for me every day of the week,” Mr Provest told myGC.

“We will virtually see a doubling of the staffing numbers (from the old hospital) and during construction, there will be 900 jobs.

“The big thing now, is just get on and build the hospital.”

The hospital is due to be completed in 2022.



Man accused of having sex with dog among 200 other offences

A NSW man, accused of having sex with a dog multiple times along over 200 other offences, has had his case briefly mentioned in court.

Bangalow man Dean Anthony Sellenthin, 43, didn’t appear in Tweed Heads Local Court on Wednesday.

Sellenthin is charged with a range of sexual offences including stalking, numerous counts of possessing and producing child exploitation material, indecently assaulting a person with a disability and break and enter.

He is also facing 19 counts of alleged bestiality for allegedly having sex with a golden retriever and numerous theft charges for stealing large amounts of underwear and swimwear from homes around the Byron Bay area.

His lawyer appeared on his behalf and asked for the matter to be adjourned to April 17 for committal.

Sellenthin will remain in custody.

Police Tape

Public appeal to find machete-wielding servo robber

POLICE will issue a fresh call for help finding the person responsible for the armed robbery of a service station on the Tweed.

About 8.45pm on Saturday 3 March, a man armed with a machete, entered a service station on Tweed Valley Way, South Murwillumbah, and threatened the attendant and a male customer.

The armed man stole cash and cigarettes before leaving.

No one was injured during the incident.

Detectives from Tweed/Byron Police District are appealing for witnesses or anyone with dash cam footage from Tweed Valley Way, to come forward and contact Tweed Heads Police.

Inquiries suggest the armed man may have travelled to the service station on a bicycle.

If you have information for Police, please contact NSW Police on 131 444 or provide information using their online form 24 hours per day. 

You can report also information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers by calling 1800 333 000 or via 24 hours per day. Crime Stoppers is a registered charity and community volunteer organisation.

$24m of cannabis seized and destroyed in northern NSW

More than 12,000 cannabis plants have been seized by police as part of the Cannabis Eradication Program (CEP) in northern New South Wales.

During this season’s CEP, police seized 12,096 plants, with an estimated street value of more than $24.2 million.

This includes 4153 plants seized in New England Police District, 1692 plants seized in Tweed/Byron Police District, 3503 plants seized in Richmond Police District, and 2748 plants seized in Coffs/Clarence Police District.

Officers also seized about 30kg of cannabis head and leaf, 1kg of resin, and a variety of ammunition.

25 people in total were served Court Attendance Notices as a result of the seizures.

The CEP is an annual operation, led by detectives from the State Crime Command’s Drug and Firearms Squad, which targets the outdoor cultivation of cannabis throughout Northern NSW.

Drug and Firearms Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Martin Fileman, said officers worked in extreme conditions and thick, dense bushland.

“With the optimal cannabis growing season being late spring and summer, the CEP can be physically challenging for our teams, particularly when removing large crops of mature plants from remote areas,” Detective Fileman said.

“The assistance of our specialist units and their equipment is essential to the success of the program, as is the expert skills of all investigators and officers on the ground.

“Many of the large crop sites were located on Crown Land or in remote areas of private land – often unbeknownst to the owner.

“Cultivating any type of plant on land without permission or authority is theft.

“Our farmers are already doing it tough – they don’t need crooks destroying parts of their property and attempting to make a profit out of crops on stolen land,” he said.

All the plants were certified by an agronomist and have since been destroyed.

The CEP began in the 1980s, to target outdoor cannabis crops.

During the program’s lifetime, $380 million dollars worth of cannabis plants have been seized.

PHOTO | Supplied by NSW Police

Polair Police Helicopter

PolAir help arrest man who jumped into Tweed River to escape police

A man has been arrested in Tweed Heads overnight, after trying to escape police by jumping into the Tweed River.

Emergency services were called to a caravan park on Dry Dock Road around 7pm last night, following reports of a drunk man.

As police from the Tweed Heads/Byron district approached the man, he allegedly ran into the water at Tweed Heads South and began swimming away from the shore.

Concern rapidly grew for the intoxicated man’s welfare, so police called for backup from the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and Marine Rescue NSW.

Despite desperate attempts, they were initially unable to locate the man.

PolAir was then also called to join the search, and they found the 26 year old man nearby on Boyds Island.

Police were then taken to the island by Marine Rescue NSW volunteers to arrest the man.

He was taken to Tweed Heads Police Station where he was charged with a warrant for domestic violence matters.

He’s due to face Tween Heads Local Court today.