The past fortnight has been a turning point for the proposed Ewingsdale seniors living development. The conceptual proposal went on public exhibition and we progressed with a series of community information sessions to enable locals to get to know our broad intention and have an early say.
In case you’ve missed it, we want to deliver an integrated seniors living and health care precinct on 15 hectares of land on Ewingsdale Road, on either side of the hospital site.
The precinct would be based on the ageing-in-place care model incorporating seniors living houses and villas, serviced apartments and an aged care facility.
To ensure the proposal is sustainable and commercially and socially viable, 1.65 hectares would be set aside for a medical centre, shops and business premises. These premises would be modest and restricted to a maximum of 3,000m2.
The concerning shortage of seniors living accommodation and facilities in Bryon Shire and across the whole far north coast is driving this proposal. The fact is this problem will worsen significantly in coming years as the population ages.
A game-changer has been the recent announcements by the state government that Byron Shire’s new hospital will be built at Ewingsdale, in addition to the already-built ambulance station.
It’s common sense that you’d put senior’s living and aged-care living around these facilities, with a medical centre and a small number of shops and cafes to make the precinct liveable. This makes for an integrated seniors living and health precinct. Everything senior’s want and need to live comfortable and happily is in the one beautiful and functional location.
If the consultation sessions at Ewingsdale Hall are anything to go by the community is very much on side.
Overall the feedback was very positive. In fact a lot of people who came to listen and have a say wanted to know when they could buy a place for themselves or loved ones struggling to find suitable seniors accommodation.
But first things first. We don’t have a definite plan as yet, nor are we about to lodge a Development Application for Byron Shire Council to consider. We’ve made it clear that the plans on public display are a conceptual outline of what might be possible at the site.
The next step is looking at what submissions the community makes once the public exhibition period ends on August 12.
From the information sessions of last week we already know that clarification is required on many fronts.
Many specific concerns will need to be addressed. Understandably, people want to know how traffic and sewerage will be managed. Residents living adjacent to the sites want to know what buffering will be put in place to assure their privacy and protect their amenity.
A recurring matter was protecting the unique, peaceful amenity of Ewingsdale Hall and chapel.
The bottom line seems to be that the community generally welcomes the concept, providing that it’s delivered in a thoughtful and respectful manner. This message is well and truly received and understood.
We took the liberty of recording the community information sessions so that people who were unable to attend could have a listen. Feel free to visit our website at www.ewingsdaleseniors.com and listen in. You’ll also find all other relevant information here.
We’ll continue to communicate and consult with the community at every opportunity as we continue taking steps towards this unique and socially-important offering.
John and Leigh Belbeck. Belbeck investments