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Byron Shire
March 25, 2023

Feros board refuse to provide evidence of facility closure claims

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With Feros announcing it will redevelop its aged care facility in Byron Bay, the management board, through a public relations manager, have declined to provide The Echo with evidence that the aged care home does not ‘meet the current government standards as a residential care facility’.

The Echo sought confirmation of claims by the Feros board that the facility ‘cannot be upgraded to meet the current government standards as a residential care facility and has to close’. 

The Echo asked, ‘Is there a report, or government document, that supports this claim?’.

The board replied, ‘There are many factors that make it impossible for Feros Care Byron Bay to remain open in its current form. This is because the home now needs to meet the more stringent requirements of nursing home standards’.

It comes as elderly residents, some of whom had just secured a spot in the facility, met on Sunday to discuss their eviction. All the residents (around 40) have been offered a home in similar Feros facilities in Kingscliff and Bangalow.

In a statement, the Feros board said so far, ‘more than 50 per cent of the residents have chosen where they would like to go for their next home. Feros Care is supporting the residents in their preferences and moves in a caring and respectful manner’.

Intergenerational community

With the Crown-managed land slated to house an ‘intergenerational community’, The Echo asked the Feros board, ‘Presumably those without any relatives wouldn’t have a place in such a facility? Is this why the board will not commit to allowing the residents to return there? Is there another reason why the board won’t offer to relocate them back?’

The board replied, ‘Our current residents in Byron Bay will be given preference to move into the new development, if it is appropriate for them, and their individual care needs. They will not be required to have a relative living in the facility’.

‘This entire process will take some time, as it moves through community consultation, design and development application stages’. 

‘Feros Care will consult with the community on any future plans for our region’s seniors on the site. Our priority right now is to support our residents to move into their new homes’. 

‘Any new development on the site will be designed with aged care foremost in mindand in consultation with the community to arrive at the best possible outcome.

‘In the near future Feros Care will invite the community to collaborate in re-imagining a better future for our region’s seniors in Byron Bay’.

Packed Marvell Hall

On Sunday, Friends and Families of Feros Residents (FFFR) held a rally at Marvell Hall in Byron Bay. It was hard to tell how many people fronted up, because the room was bursting at the seams, and spilling out of every doorway onto the street.

Organised and MC’d by Mandy Nolan, and daughter of a resident, Maree Eddings, those gathered made sure their numbers were counted.

Delta Kay said that, like many locals, she had run up to old George Feros with his wild grey hair with his collection box and put in coins.

‘I’m here to ensure that our residents get a home, a home so they’re safe, secure, and they’re happy. Is that right?’

Nolan said that a legacy is being destroyed, while local MP, Tamara Smith, said we need to reclaim George Feros’ good name.

‘This is definitely not George Feros’ shame.

‘This is the shame of the corporation.

‘This is a community asset. This is Crown land, this is our land, this is public land.

‘The infrastructure came from money from our community.

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‘So on what planet do our residents, in that vision, just get told – sorry, you’re booted out? It’s just bonkers. It’s completely bonkers.’

Byron Shire Mayor, Michael Lyon, said he was feeling quite uncertain.

‘In terms of a Council point of view – we don’t have any legal role here, or any decision making role, as far as I can tell. But there is certainly a role, and for me that role is to ensure that we get proper communication, and proper consultation, and proper understanding, before a decision like this, which is going to affect so many people and be so heart rending, gets started’.

Feros resident ninety-five-year-old Kate Smorty thanked everyone for turning up. ‘It’s very reassuring and heartening.’

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  1. Is Feros Byron closing? Or is that statement bogus? It is a critical question because the Board claim it is being closed is the legal loophole to voiding all the Residents Contracts. That’s how they have been able to bundle a dozen out, pack up their rooms put them on a bus to Bangalow – boom! 12 gone in under 2 weeks.
    Is it redeveloping? Because that is not closure and the residents rights to stay would not be voided. So there is a word game about “proposed closure” in some forums and “closure” in others.
    The Village is on Crown Land. If it is “closing” and a new purpose is suggested like “Intergenerational Housing” then in NSW a change of purpose automatically triggers an Aboriginal Land Rights Claim on all public Land. These claims can take decades to process. So we are looking at 40 units of treasured aged accommodation lying empty and unused in middle of a housing crisis – not just for years, but for decades with most likely outcome Feros loses the property for any purpose.

    Feros Byron is LOW CARE. The CEO and Board Chair claim it is no longer allowable under Federal legislation. In other words it is the Federal Governments fault they are “forced” to close it or maybe not close it. The Echo is right to demand evidence in support of this claim. Because 36 residents in a 40 place community facility are e being evicted for this reason. It is incredibly serious. Along with many others I hotly dispute the veracity of this claim and urge Feros to clear it up immediately.

    1. Show us the legislation you say requires this Village to cease operating
    2. Clarify are you “closing” (in which case the residents rights are voided) or are you redeveloping and not closing (in which case the treatment of residents is not just immoral and disgraceful – it’s also illegal). The story keeps changing and thank god the Echo keeps pressing the questions because these answers are critical.

  2. We don’t need confirmation from Feros Board to show that the Byron Bay facility is non compliant. A online search at Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission shows current non compliance in 8 of the Standards, there are only 8 Standards.
    A online check at My Aged Care star rating shows 2 stars out of 5, showing Staffing and Compliance well below standard, 2 of the most important issues in Aged Care!

  3. Why can’t Feros give the level of care that residents need? Obviously, the board and the new CEO haven’t been doing their job properly. And can’t be bothered to bring the facilities up to scratch. Much easier to chuck everyone out. Has anyone considered chucking out the new CEO and the board?


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