Aged care providers criticise loan proposal for project

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A proposed $5 million investment by the Waitaki District Council in the Hospital Hill Retirement Village project has been criticised by some existing aged-care providers in Oamaru during the submission process on the Draft Annual Plan.

In a written submission, Vic Inglis, of Rendell on Reed Rest Home, criticised the appointment of Grant Adamson to prepare the Waitaki District Health Services’ report on the project saying that he “was not credentialed to write a report, which has now formed the basis for proceeding further with this venture”.

“Many of the statements made in this report are baseless and biased,” Mr Inglis said.

“For example, indicating that he had made contact with the rest homes (he did not approach any) while describing the existing establishments as poor to average – a statement made without setting foot in the door of any of the existing facilities.”

Kelvin Taylor, owner-manager of Sandringham House Rest Home said in his submission that average occupancy levels in existing providers was 72-85 per cent over the last six months which, he said, indicated there was sufficient supply to meet demand in the short-to-medium-term. This was supported by Mr Inglis and Gary and Denise Jeffares (Harbour View Rest Home) who said in their submission that they had not seen any evidence of a shortage of rest home beds.

In a press release, Waitaki District Health Services Limited chairman George Berry said existing rest home operators opposing the development should not be apprehensive. It would be at least two years before the facilities could be built and operating and demand was expected to grow.

“They will provide a choice that is not there now for individuals and couples with a different model of retirement and care facility.

“Contrary to what the submissions were suggesting, the development was being planned to cater for all levels of demand, not any select group, with a range of pricing for villas and apartments for residents that would be affordable for local people and in line with Oamaru and the Waitaki district housing costs.”

Mr Berry said the development would only proceed if there was a robust business case independently verified for the satisfaction of the directors and council to support the venture.

In the Draft Annual Plan, council chief executive officer Michael Ross said the council was still a long way off making a final decision to support the retirement village project.

At yesterday’s meeting, he said a possible $5 million loan was conditional on the council signing off the business case.

By LINDA MCCARTHY