Residents' group calls for 'healthy' ambulance station
The Peninsula Residents Association has called on NSW Health to adopt a "healthy" design for its proposed Woy Woy ambulance station to ensure it does not contribute to summer heat on the Peninsula.
Indicative plans circulated by the department show a footprint that would require the removal of at least one large shade tree and possibly more from the gardens surrounding Woy Woy Hospital, according to association chair Mr Mark Snell.
"The removal of shade trees and leafy gardens is the primary cause of summer heating, known as the heat island effect, which sees temperatures on the Peninsula more than four degrees higher than surrounding bushy areas," he said.
The heat island effect is known to have a detrimental health impact, particularly on vulnerable elderly people.
"More than a quarter of our population is over the age of 65, compared to a state average of 16.5 per cent.
"So, with about one and half times the numbers of elderly, our community is more vulnerable than most."
Mr Snell said: "We are urging NSW Health to show responsible leadership in the siting, design and development of the new ambulance station which would model development standards that help protect the health of the Peninsula community."
He said the department should consider minimising shade tree removal, incorporating a rooftop garden and using material with a high solar reflective index for the buildings and paved areas around it, as well as other ways it might compensate for its contribution to summer heat.
"We welcome moves to improve the local ambulance service, but it is important that the station itself does not add to our health problems."
Five years ago more than half of the Peninsula had less than 20 per cent vegetative cover, Mr Snell said.
"Tree canopy was even less and has been reduced since," he said.
"New developments are being approved that are removing tree and vegetative cover generally and are making the situation worse.
"This compares to a State Government canopy target of 40 per cent for urban areas, a figure we would support."
Media release, 11 Dec 2021
Mark Snell, Peninsula Residents Association