Giving up is not an option for Lower Clarence Health advocate Jim Agnew OAM.
In April 2015 the now 90-year-old began a campaign to improve safety for both patients and vehicles at Maclean District Hospital.
While Mr Agnew was unsuccessful (for now) in gaining support to construct a new vehicular access from Central Avenue through the sports field, which is owned by Northern NSW Local Health District, he has gained the health district’s support to reduce the speed limit at the Hospital’s Union Street entrance.
Trucks currently reverse into the hospital’s grounds to unload.
In addition to this, trucks that deliver oxygen reverse up Woodford Street and cross Union Street in order to make deliveries.
The Northern NSW Local Health District and Mr Agnew have jointly written to Clarence Valley Council requesting that its traffic committee considers reducing the speed limit in the vicinity of the Union Street entrance.
“In our view with so many vehicles, including large vehicles, entering and exiting [the hospital] the current speed limit on Union Street poses a safety risk,” the letter states.
“Due to Union Street’s sharp decline, where it runs parallel to the [hospital], many vehicles tend to speed…
“Therefore, we propose that the speed limit …, from a little before to a little after [the hospital], should be reduced to 40 kilometres per hour.
“This would send a strong message to drivers … travelling along Union Street … to reduce their speed.”
Mr Agnew has conducted his own traffic survey at the hospital’s entrance, where he says up to 800 vehicles use Woodford and Union streets “within a six hour stint”.
Meanwhile, Mr Agnew said he would continue his campaign to improve access for patients and visitors from the car park – at the present time people are faced with a choice of climbing 18 steps or traversing the incline at the hospital’s entrance before accessing the ramp.
This issue, he said, would be solved if a new entrance was constructed from Central Avenue, because “patients could be dropped off out the front of the hospital at the ramp and the driver could find a car space in the car park”.
At the hospital, Mr Agnew’s efforts, with the assistance of Maclean Rotary, have in the past resulted in the construction of the ramp to the emergency department and improvements to the car park.
In the past, his advocacy was largely responsible for the construction of the Yamba ambulance station and the Yamba community health centre.