IT'S great news that a private hospital wants to come to Bathurst. Bring it on.
But like Taco Bell and the go-kart track, it is all about location.
Why does a hospital need to be built in the heart of our heritage CBD?
Six storeys and a five-storey car park virtually across the road from the Carillon and the historic St Stephen's Church with its beautiful steeple and right around the corner from our magnificent court house? Surely not.
The proposed building's bulk and size would see it dominate the CBD and surrounds.
Bathurst's unique character as Australia's oldest inland city, a heritage city with a unique historic heart, would be severely compromised.
A building of this scale needs to be built out of the CBD on a greenfield or brownfield site, of which there are many available locations.
As for parking, there are several options available right next to the CBD in the showground, football ground and sportsground precincts.
Council just needs to open the gates and allow people to park all day for free. It is just as far to Woolies from the RSL as it is from the showground.
The town needs more pedestrian friendly and bicycle options to get people out of their cars and walking.
Shady, tree-lined streets and people friendly spaces as suggested in the Town Square Master Plan.
More public transport options from Eglinton and the new Kelso suburbs including free 'park and ride' options which might include the plentiful flat land along Hereford Street.
There are numerous alternatives to building an ugly multi-storey car park if we think outside the box.
Do we want Bathurst to become just another Sydney, high rise look-alike, or do we want to maintain our distinctive country town and heritage feel?
Tourists will not travel far to experience what they can see in Parramatta or Penrith.
After Mount Panorama, heritage is Bathurst's most important saleable and lifestyle asset.
It must be protected, enhanced and celebrated at every opportunity.