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Byron Shire
September 26, 2023

Kingscliff residents say Uniting’s seniors living proposal is massive overdevelopment

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The proposed four-storey buildings will be twice the height of the lamppost pictured in the car park.
Photo Aslan Shand

Neighbours of the Uniting Care aged care facility in Kingscliff say that they have been left ‘highly distressed’, enduring ‘sleepless nights’ worrying about a proposed four-storey seniors development that they fear will overshadow their homes, with units looking directly into their bedrooms, and blocking the sun from their back gardens. 

Residents have cited examples of other Uniting Care aged care and seniors developments throughout NSW and Queensland to which they say the local community has objected to on the grounds that they constitute a significant overdevelopment. 

‘There are some people who are directly impacted by this development and they are too stressed to talk about it,’ a group of local residents who have come together under the banner DUC4K (Does Uniting Care 4 Kingscliff) told The Echo

‘It seems to be the same model they have used in other communities, they come in with a giant development proposal, say they have listened to the community, make a few minor adjustments and then push ahead regardless of the negative impacts they are having, and will have, on their neighbours.’ 

There is currently a restricted entrance to the existing Uniting aged care facility. Uniting has bought two houses on the opposite side of the site to knock down and build a larger access to the site. Photo Aslan Shand

Only an extra 40 aged-care beds

The proposed development is seeking to increase the number of aged care beds at the Kingscliff site from 80 to 120 and develop the rest of the large site, that is surrounded by low-rise residential housing, into primarily four-storey, high-density apartments. That will supply 211 independent living units (ILU) in a mix of one, two or three-bedroom units on the site. 

Th undeveloped area of the Uniting Care site. During floods this area fills with flood water. Photo Aslan Shand

At the maximum height of 13.6m allowed neighbours say the four-storey buildings will dwarf and overshadow their houses with units that will look straight into their and their children’s bedrooms, their living areas, and their backyards. They say the proposed building will block sunlight from their gardens and reduce their solar energy production and the passive solar capacity that they have built into their homes. 

‘Similar scenarios have played out in other places including Batemans Bay, Yamba, the Sunshine Coast, Bateau Bay and Waverley,’ explained DUC4K members.

‘They claim that they “have listened to you” but then continue to push this massive development proposal into a low-density precinct.’

Bateau Bay

Erin Breneger from Bateau Bay Community Collective agrees, telling The Echo that Uniting ‘basically didn’t listen to any of our concerns,’ when they were putting forward the development for seniors living and aged care at Bateau Bay.

‘There were numerous issues including having people look into my kids’ bedrooms and our living areas; the height, bulk, and scale of the development; lack of sunlight in back yards; pushing extra traffic onto a cul de sac that couldn’t manage the existing traffic let alone their proposed increase of traffic,’ she said.

While they did manage to get some concessions during their 18-month struggle around setbacks, heights etc Ms Brenger said Uniting were unwilling to consider the impacts on their neighbours who, once the development is built, will have neighbours looking into their living areas and bedrooms and have no sunlight in the back yards from 3pm – if they are lucky. 

‘We did everything we could do to have this turned into an appropriate aged care development in our area, but they pushed through a significant overdevelopment at this site.’

Uniting Care’s existing low-rise Kingscliff aged care facility at 24 Kingscliff Road, Kingscliff. Photo Aslan Shand

Not objection to aged care

DUC4K members were clear that they expect the large site in the centre of their low-density residential area to be developed but say, ‘we thought that it would be something that would fit into the existing built environment’. 

‘The site is surrounded by one and two-storey homes and the intent of the planning legislation isn’t to plonk such an overdevelopment into a low-density residential area like this. There are areas that are specifically designated for medium to high-density development in Kingscliff but this site is surrounded by all low-rise residential homes and the proposed development is totally out of character.’

A photo of the plans that a resident was able to take during public consultation. They have yet to be supplied with definitive plans for the site. Photo supplied

Lack of information

According to Uniting’s website they have developed their plans ‘with input from the Kingscliff community during our 2022 public consultation’. However, DUC4K members said that they have had difficulty getting access to finalised documents of the plans, shadow drawings etc.

‘They seem unwilling to supply many of the documents. They keep saying that they are not ready, yet at other times they say they are working on the fine details. The story changes depending on who they are talking to.’ 

‘We are angry,’ said one resident.

‘They give each of us different information about the same things, they didn’t supply drawings until two weeks after the public consultation. It feels like they were doing an exercise in ticking the boxes of consultation but we didn’t actually feel listened to.’

Not managing current facilities

DU4CK also highlighted the fact that the current 80-bed aged care facility is poorly managed – in their opinion regarding matters from noise of machinery to traffic locals say that the existing situation has left much to be desired. 

‘Council have been out to check and told them they need to manage their existing noise pollution etc but nothing has happened. How are we expected to believe that they will be able to manage a site that is so much bigger and more complex?’

Fore more information on the development see Uniting Care or contact DUC4K on [email protected].

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  1. Right building totally wrong location. This does not fit the proposed location and will further create more traffic issues due to sub standard town planning in the area where parking, traffic and public transport issues already exist and already creates noise and traffic issues.
    Needs to be proposed elsewhere.

    • There is clearly a tension between existing residents’ rights to sunlight and the need we we keep hearing about for higher density living to address our housing supply crisis. Perhaps those who are going to make a matzah out of these mega development should be made to pay compensation or for ameliorative measures.

  2. Bastard oldies, the hide of them to want a roof over their head for the few remaining days they have before fading off to the never never.

  3. This development is wrong for Kingscliff. Bad for neighbours, vehicle drivers, does not fit the LDP, that others have to abide to, the probability of flooding & its impact on present residents.

    • I had no idea that a bunch of 80 year olds who are too weak and fragile from age to look after themselves anymore are going to be bad for neighbors and vehicle drivers.

  4. Redesign the building so that the southern end is stepped back, at each level, reducing the solar impact, and the privacy issues. There would be a reduction in occupation.
    What of emergency relocation in case of disaster?

  5. According to Uniting’s website they have developed their plans ‘with input from the Kingscliff community during our 2022 public consultation’


    • Jim, Jim, Jim. Maybe read the article – It’s not housing, or even aged care for that matter. It’s retirement living at the beach for cashed up boomers who can afford it and, as a bonus, effing up the local community at the same time.

      • Oldman, Oldman, Oldman,
        1-It is an aged care facility. Denying that it’s an aged care facility because it upsets you doesn’t somehow change the fact that it’s an aged care facility.

        2-If you think UnitingCare, a body representing a bunch of church run community services, is trying to develop some sort of luxury retirement center for the cashed up rich, then you’re either deluded or not deluded and extremely cynical about the objectives of non-profit organizations in Australia.

        3-If you have an education in economics and have read the research literature in urban economics, you’ll understand that the ways that zoning policies are abused beyond their original purpose by local councils in Australia have a strong tendency to impair allocative efficiency, and in doing so lead to drastically poorer social and economic outcomes in the long run for both people living outside the local council areas where specific zoning decisions are made, and for future generations who don’t currently have a say in the decision making that can stunt the health of the economy they’re going to inherit.

  6. How dare they put more residences in a residential area. And those oldies will be driving their Ford Rangers up and down the streets all day. Just another example of why we have a housing shortage.

  7. There is a great need for more living areas like this with the new hospital opening soon Kingscliff is going to change dramatically more of these projects will be built councils will not be able to stop them the federal government has said that people are living longer and housing is a top priority


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