New $25M aged care facility

CONSTRUCTION is expected to begin early next year on a $25 million 144-bed residential aged care facility in Sale.

Wellington Shire Council has issued a planning permit for the facility, which will be built on a two hectare site in Surkitt Boulevard in the Glenhaven Estate.

The project is being undertaken by Croft Developments Pty Ltd which designs, develops and builds residential aged care facilities.

Company director Graeme Croft said construction would take about 14 months, creating about 120 jobs in the construction phase.

Once the project was complete, it was anticipated about 170 jobs would be created.

Mr Croft said some of the specialist construction work would be undertaken by Melbourne-based tradespeople, but most would be sub-contracted.

“More often than not local labour is used,” he said.

This project will be one of the largest undertaken by the company which has also completed residential aged care projects in Traralgon and Bairnsdale, both of which are managed by Bupa Aged care, and which are 120 bed and 90 bed facilities respectively.

It is not known who will operate the Sale facility once construction is complete, but given Croft Developments’ previous ties with Bupa, it will be a likely contender.

Mr Croft said the Sale facility would comprise four 36 bed wings, with one wing split into two dementia care areas of 18 beds each, creating a dedicated dementia unit.

He said the facility would provide a lot more options for local people seeking residential aged care, with many others in the district aging.

“There will be low level care all the way up to high and specialist dementia care,” he said.

Mr Croft said there would be large single rooms and spacious common areas, with provisions for couples as well.

There will an over-bed tracking system for resident lifting in high care areas, spacious courtyards with shade sails and umbrellas, a hairdressing room, a doctors’ room and a focus on activity programs and areas promoting independence.

Tenders will be called early next year for the project and once finalised, it is expected construction jobs will be advertised.

Construction should begin in the first quarter of next year, with the completion target June 2017.

Mr Croft said jobs for staff to work in the facility would be advertised in early 2017.

He added that the company had enjoyed excellent support from Wellington Shire Council in getting the project expedited, and preliminary paperwork was currently being prepared.

The announcement is good news for Sale and district as construction winds down on the Longford Gas Conditioning Plant, the new Seaspray Surf Life Saving Club facility and Sale Livestock Exchange.

With new projects in the wings and getting underway, including the Port of Sale development, RAAF Base, East Sale expansion, the new Sale Ambulance Station and the new Sale Specialist School, the future is looking bright for the local economy and for local tradies if a high proportion of the construction work goes to local people.