Woorayl Lodge to rebuild at new site
LEONGATHA is closer to having a new, one stop, multi-million dollar aged care home on the edge of town.
Woorayl Lodge is seeking to build on the corner of the South Gippsland Highway and Boags Road, south of the hospital.
The existing lodge in McCartin Street is landlocked and unable to expand and service the region’s aging population.
The four hectare site would allow room for expansion and could cater for a maximum of several hundred people.
The lodge has owned the Boags Road site for about four years and tomorrow (Wednesday), South Gippsland Shire Council will consider a request by the lodge committee to rezone the site from farming to low density residential zone.
Council officers have recommended council do so by asking Planning Minister Matthew Guy to authorise a planning scheme amendment to rezone the site and remove overlays regarding erosion and flooding.
Rezoning the site will allow Woorayl Lodge to apply for a planning permit to build a new aged care hostel in the future.
Woorayl Lodge committee chairperson Neil Breeden addressed council at last Wednesday’s public presentation session and said Leongatha’s population would triple over the next 50 years.
“Demands for bigger and better equipped facilities as the baby boomer generation requires care will place even more pressure on the aged care industry,” he said.
Woorayl Lodge was established in 1956, and now services 40 low care residents and provides 29 single bedroom independent living units.
“Woorayl Lodge currently occupies premises that have a remaining useful life of 10 to 15 years,” Mr Breeden said.
“The current site does not allow for additional beds to be built if the Department of Social Services bed licences become available. Aged care facilities cannot build beds that attract government funding without being granted these licences.
“Licences are only granted to organisations which have a sustainable long term business plan and a commitment the beds will be built and brought on line within a two year period.
“Our current situation does not allow Woorayl Lodge to apply for these licences if they become available.”
The new lodge would cater for all degrees of aged care – independent living, low, medium and high care – and needs to be ready within 10 to 15 years.
“This means residents can move from independent living to low care to high care without having to be transferred from the site,” Mr Breeden said.
He said the existing lodge would most likely be sold, possibly to another aged care operator.
“It has got to the point where it is no longer viable to refurbish (the existing lodge). We have to start again with a new regime of requirements,” Mr Breeden told The Star.
He said a bus could take residents to town and said few residents now walk from the current lodge into Leongatha.
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