Paul Leitch, Ewingsdale
There is yet another proposal to establish a retirement village on rural land at Ewingsdale.
The previous proposal was sensibly rejected as being an inappropriate use of the land, and to preserve the current R5 zoning for Ewingsdale (noting the intended development site is currently RU2).
This time, prior to acquiring the land, the development company, Ingenia, is undertaking a limited community consultation with the directly affected community. That is, residents who own property adjacent to the land surrounding Higgins House in Ewingsdale, bordering the hospital and through to William Flick Lane. Last Tuesday evening they held an information evening at Elements in order to gauge community response. It is fair to say that all of those attending were dismayed that, yet again, this was a proposal for high density living (albeit without the previously proposed shopping and medical centre).
Nevertheless, it appears that potential purchasers of the land seem undeterred by the current zoning and want to build small lot, high density housing for retirees. They suggest this allows over 55s to ‘age in place’ – a deliberate misuse of the term which, in aged care, means bringing the services to the people in their homes as they ‘age in place’ – rather than remove them to alternative settings such as retirement homes and the like.
That said, the main issue is that there appears to be a lack of a deterrent for potential purchasers and developers to seek to re-zone the property. In their paraphernalia, Ingenia reference the unique nature of Ewingsdale in a tokenistic way. If they genuinely held the unique environment of Ewingsdale in high regard, they would have a completely different proposal, in keeping with the acreage living that reflects the existing community.
It is also clear, and in contrast to what Ingenia is proposing, that other developers in the area (Figtree and Scenic Vista) have managed to undertake development in a sensitive yet commercially viable manner.
Cynically, the developers are seeking to use the promise to develop the long overdue roundabout at Ewingsdale Road and McGettigan’s Lane as a carrot to entice some of the local residents to support the development. This is largely tokenistic as the responsibility for decent road amenities clearly lies with Council, with funding support from state and federal grants.