Rest home’s $5.2, revamp unveiled

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The $5.2 million redevelopment at Iona Home and Hospital was a challenge to complete, but manager Stephanie Leith said anything worth having wasn’t easy to obtain.

The Kirkness Mackay Hospital Unit was officially opened on Friday.

”The people who live here say it feels homely,” she said.

The total floor space of the redevelopment is 1278 sq m and includes 27 bedrooms with en suites. They are 50 per cent larger than the original bedrooms.

The Mackay wing underwent redecoration at the same time.

Oamaru’s Shirley Gillies spoke about the rest home’s history.

Her father William Grave, uncle Albert Grave and R. K Ireland gifted the land to the area in 1944.

Ten years later, a 34-bedroom hospital was established. In 1957, six cottages were added and in 1964, a 13-bedroom rest home unit was opened.

Presbyterian Support Otago chief executive Gillian Bremner said it was 12 months since the first soil was turned.

”All things come to those who wait and this is a very good thing that we have,” she said.

”I hope now it’s complete, the residents can be proud.”

Waitaki District Mayor Alex Familton officially opened the unit. He untied the ribbon with the help of Mrs Bremner, Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean and Mrs Leith, which was followed by Waitaki Boy’s High School’s Angus Liddell piping Flower of Scotland through the unit.

Mr Familton said 20 per cent of Waitaki’s population were over the age of 65 and that figure was expected to double by 2030.

By Jessie Waite