THE second stage of upgrades at the Stretton Park aged care facility in Maffra will begin soon after the first stage is complete, following the securing of $1 million from the federal government.
Gippsland MHR Darren Chester on Friday morning announced Stretton Park will receive the money, matching an amount the facility has put forward.
“There are $1 million smiles on a lot of faces in Maffra this morning,” Mr Chester said.
“Stretton Park has been providing extraordinary services to the older community of the Maffra district for almost 50 years, and to be able to provide a $1 million grant from the federal government to support the next stage of redevelopment is something that’s been long anticipated and greatly appreciated by the local community.”
Mr Chester said projects like the Stretton Park redevelopment were important for the local economy.
“As we deal right now with the aftermath of the drought, the bushfires and the coronavirus, it’s so important that we focus on local jobs – the local jobs available here during the construction phase, and also the long-term sustainability of this important aged care facility,” he said.
Stretton Park chairman Helen Montague said the community was ecstatic with the news.
“We’ve been able to fund stage one ourselves through good management, so being able to access stage two, and hopefully into the future stage three, will just roll the build on and it will just be wonderful,” she said.
“The residents are all delighted, and all keenly watching what’s happening at the moment.
“This a community-own, not-for-profit, organisation, it’s well-supported by the community. The fundraising we’ve done over the past few years – we’ve raised over $170,000 just from community groups that have contributed to make this happen.”
With stage one, which includes the redevelopment of 12 resident suits and construction of four suites, due for completion in March, facility chief executive Paul Head said the money would ensure stage two can being without disruption.
“It means we can get a quicker build, and we can get all these lovely old residents into their new rooms as quickly as possible,” he said.
“Stage two looks a lot like stage one, but it’s more bedrooms … this will take on another 11 to 15 rooms.”
Around $1.5 million is needed for stage three.
Works at Stretton Park was one of three projects in the Gippsland electorate to receive funding from the Building Better Regions Fund, with the rest of the $6.5 million going towards the redevelopment of the WORLD sporting complex in Bairnsdale and improving irrigation infrastructure at Bairnsdale Golf Club.