Surprise aged care approval

AN application to build a large-scale aged care residential facility in Delacombe has been approved by City of Ballarat councillors, but surrounding residents say they were unaware a development for the site was being considered by the council. 

Councillors unanimously approved the application, which includes 144 beds, four separate wings and a specialised dementia care unit at 305 Smythes Road in Delacombe at their meeting on Wednesday night. 

The application was not advertised to the public as the agenda states it is “in accords with the Ballarat West Precinct Structure Plan, 2012.” 

The 7814-square-metre development includes a kitchen, internet room, laundry, staff room, dining and lounge area for each wing as well as a library, chapel, men’s shed, craft and activities rooms, hairdresser, meeting rooms, office space and medical stations, reception and outdoor courtyard. 

Ballarat councillor Des Hudson

Ballarat councillor Des Hudson

It would have 51 car parking spaces, including six disabled car parking spots.

Smythes Road resident Phil Judd, who lives opposite the site, said he was surprised by the application, but did not oppose it.

“I had no idea that there was an application even being considered by the council. We hadn’t received any notification about it,” Mr Judd said. 

“We aren’t too fussed by it. It is a big block of land so it would be a suitable place for this type of development and I don’t see traffic increasing considerably due to it.”

Delacombe resident Bevan Bell said he was also unaware of the application.

“I had no idea about it until I heard it on the news on Thursday morning,” Mr Bell said.

“I’m in my 80s and I think there is a need for more aged care facilities in the region and it’s the type of development which I think will actually be benefit to the community.” 

City of Ballarat general manager city strategy Natalie Reiter said the facility was exhibited to the public when the Ballarat West Precinct Structure Plan was prepared in 2012. 

“Since the inclusion of such a facility was deemed appropriate at that time the application was considered similar enough that the application did not need to be advertised again,” Ms Reiter said. 

Ms Reiter said the city had a growing aged population, with the number of people aged 70 years and older expected to increase from more than 10,050 to 18,730 in 2031. 

Croft Developments Pty Ltd submitted the application, while the owner of the site is ICL Operations One Pty Ltd. 

Croft Developments director Graeme Croft said the development was instigated after the federal government identified the region as an area needing more aged care beds. 

He said the proposal was developed with input by Ballarat organisations, including hospitals and aged care assessment teams. 

“The important thing is that the new facility brings long-term jobs for the region, plus the provision of care which unblocks hospital beds,” Mr Croft said.

Ballarat councillor Des Hudson said a facility that provided different levels of care for the elderly was needed.

melissa.cunningham@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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