Aged care home to go ahead

THE developers of an aged care home at Kalkie have insisted the project is going ahead, despite months of delays raising questions about its future.

Japara Holdings development manager Joel Wertheimer said the company was “still very strongly committed” to building the home.

The Department for Health and Ageing approved 120 beds for the facility in 2008, but the allocations were due to expire early this year if the facility was not open.

But Mr Wertheimer said the department had recently granted an extension, allowing the company more time to start construction.

It was the second extension for the project, which will incorporate bed licenses originally allocated to Carlyle Gardens and The Lakes Retirement Village, which were transferred several years ago when Japara sold the facilities.

The bed licenses were allocated to the new project in late 2005 and 2006, and were extended for the first time to run until the end of 2009.

Mr Wertheimer said the delays were caused not by the economic crisis, but by the stimulus packages that aimed to boost construction jobs.

“With the economic crisis, the timing wasn’t great, but the main issue was that builders were quite hard to come by because of the government’s stimulus packages — it meant we had delays in getting our chosen builders,” he said.

While it was initially slated to open late last year or early this year, Mr Wertheimer said the project at 231–241 Bargara Road should now be open in early 2011.

“We are finalising the contracts with our preferred builder, and our intention is to get the project up and running within about three or four months,” he said.

“We expect construction to take about a year.”

The facility will offer 50 high-care and 70 low-care beds and is expected to create between 80 and 120 jobs for nurses, carers and support staff.

The design approved by Bundaberg Regional Council in June 2008 is for a large complex with a mix of single rooms and ensuites, constructed over two levels.

There will also be a specific ward for patients with dementia.

“The plans have remained the same as the initial approval, and we have full support for the project,” Mr Wertheimer said.

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