Gloucester's new nursing home has been official blessed and is ready for its residents.
Anglican Care held a scaled-down opening, due to COVID-19, of Mirrabooka Place on Thursday, October 15 with a handful of invited guest and ceremonial officials.
The guest list encapsulated the enormity of the project and the length of time it takes for this type of development to come to fruition.
From the beginning in 2015 with the former Gloucester Shire mayor John Rosenbaum, who was at the helm when Anglican Care won the tender, through to the current MidCoast Council mayor David West, the general feeling was that it was worth waiting for.
"It's fantastic. Really great," Mr Rosenbaum said.
"It's a huge benefit to the community. It's the biggest development outside of Woolworths in 45 years since I've been here."
For Mayor West, he was all smiles thinking about how great it would be to spend one's twilight years there.
"Gloucester, in my mind, is the epitome of where everyone wants to live. An area to lay back and refresh," Mayor West said.
"People age and that's inevitable. Now they have a first class facility to live in comfort."
Pitching Gloucester as the ultimate place to be was also a sentiment shared by Federal Member for Lyne, David Gillespie. He was overheard during a television interview stating that Gloucester is a 'must-do' destination.
Dr Gillespie advocated to get shortfall funding to help the facility get off the ground.
"I was pleased I was able to bring home the bacon, so to speak," Dr Gillespie said.
He has been very vocal about the need for a purpose-built nursing home in Gloucester, a place that isn't a former nurses' residence or a hospital, but rather a home that the residents can make their own.
For Gloucester resident Vivien Webeck, whose mother will be moving into the facility on October 21, the finished project is pretty impressive.
"It's beautiful. It's like a ski lodge, with all the glass windows," Ms Webeck smiled.
Gloucester Aboriginal elder, Uncle Ken Eveleigh delivered the Welcome to Country as part of the official ceremony.
He also spoke about the painting that was commission by Anglican Care to represent Gloucester and Mirrabooka, which hangs proud in the front lobby. 'Guide Me Home' is the work of artist Kirk Watts.
"The image depicts Mirrabooka over the Buccan Buccans," Uncle Ken read out the artist explanation.
"The design of Mirrabooka includes patterns that are scale-like and come from a Worimi scar tree and long hair like spikes. The scales and spikes are a reference to the Water Dragon (a Worimi male totem animal). The intention of this is to make him a Mirrabooka for the Worimi people.
"The title 'Guide Me Home' makes use of the story of Mirrabooka being turned into what we call the Southern Cross by the creator spirit, Biami."
Kirk's intention is to have Mirrabooka not only be a guide for travel and season but to function as a guide to the heavens for those in the twilight of life.
"The Mirrabooka depicted is a guide for both physical and spiritual journeys."
Absent from the opening was former Anglican Care chief executive officer, Colin Osborne, who has been the face of the project since the beginning.
Mr Osborne was one of the causalities of Anglican Diocese of Newcastle's major restructure announced in September.
The restructure saw the diocesan business entities - Newcastle Anglican Schools Corporation, the Samaritans, which offers disability and community support, and Anglican Care, which oversees aged-care services - dissolved.
In its place is an expanded board of the Newcastle Anglican Corporation, headed by Newcastle Bishop Peter Stuart, that took control of all the entities on October 1.
It was reported in the Newcastle Herald that the restructure was about securing the financial future of the organisation, however, there was speculation that it was a "power play" by the diocese in a bid to shore-up more control, especially of finances.
In Mr Osborne's place at the opening ceremony was diocesan chief executive, Coralie Nichols, the former general manager of Dungog Council who came into the role in February 2020, and newly appointed executive director People Care, Brad Webb.