Anglican Care answers questions about its proposed Gloucester's aged care project

Geoff Troup from Manns and Troup outlines the design of the project due to be constructed on Clement Street next to Gloucester High School. Photo Anne Keen
Geoff Troup from Manns and Troup outlines the design of the project due to be constructed on Clement Street next to Gloucester High School. Photo Anne Keen

Designer of the proposed new nursing home and retirement village for Gloucester, Geoff Troup’s attempt to reveal the facility’s layout was overshadowed by questions about the project’s fitness for the community.

Anglican Care’s latest community meeting, held at the Gloucester Country Club on Wednesday February 6, was planned to update residents on the specifics of the property’s design, however chief executive officer (CEO) Colin Osborne found himself answering a range of questions about affordability and the number of beds.

The nursing home design has only 50 beds, which is less than the 60 beds Hunter New England Health agreed to transfer to Anglican Care from the current facilities. When asked why the number was so low, Mr Osborne spoke about regulations and legislation in relation to who qualifies for ‘high care’ versus ‘home care’.

He explained how there are people currently in Kimbarra Lodge listed as ‘low care’ who, if they were applying to get in under current legislation, wouldn’t be admitted into the new nursing home but would instead be eligible for home care. The problem, however, is the 12 month waiting list for home care packages, which Mr Osborne said was a government delay not a provider one.

Despite being asked what happens if there are more than 50 people in the Gloucester facility when the new one is built, Mr Osborne’s answer remained the same, referring to home care packages. It was noted later in the meeting that the development has scope for up to an additional 10 beds in the future.

He was asked a question about staffing numbers, which he admitted he couldn’t answer, stating it wasn’t a matter a CEO deals with.

A question was asked about food preparation and why a kitchen wasn’t included in the design, to which Mr Osborne reiterated his comments from previous meetings, that the food would be prepared at the organisation’s food production facility in Cardiff. However, he agreed to consider a local provider’s tender, so long as it was financially viable.

Around 45 people from the Gloucester community attended the meeting.

Around 45 people from the Gloucester community attended the meeting.

Questions were asked about the retirement village, with its proposed 28 units, mostly around the cost and whether or not that fits into Gloucester economics.

“When I last checked the Gloucester house price meridian was $295,000,” Mr Osborne said. “And we have done everything in our power to try to design a product to suit the market.”

As stated in the past, Mr Osborne talked about how the financial viability of the project is directly linked to the costing of the units which are expected to be between $290,000 and $420,000.

When asked why these units would be so much more expensive than some on the market in other communities, Mr Osborne explained how the less expensive ones are typically demountable buildings of lower quality, a design concept Anglican Care is not willing to put its name on, Mr Osborne said.

This concerned several people in the room who believe this cost bracket is outside of the scope the majority of the community and would only be appealing to people from outside the region.

What wasn’t asked at the meeting was what the buy in cost, or the Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD), for the nursing home would be, which previously Mr Osborne had said would be a minimum $295,000, compared to the current RAD at Gloucester of $190,000. When asked after the meeting Mr Osborne stated it would be in the high $200,000s, but that it had not yet been determined.