SITE work has finally started on a controversial $6 million project for multi-storey accommodation units at Warrnambool’s Lyndoch aged-care centre.
Several old single-level units, built in the 1950s, have been demolished to make room for the first stage of 17 units expected to be finished by early 2014.
“We’re aiming to call for tenders soon to build the first stage and quote on the second stage of 19 units,” Lyndoch board chairman David Atkinson said yesterday.
“Subject to the sale of the first units, we will then go to the second stage.
“We believe these will serve a need for people to lease very good quality retirement units where they will want to stay there for the rest of their lives.
“It will give Lyndoch an income stream to continue providing aged-care services, because government funding is limited.”
The project was first lodged with the city council for a planning permit in June 2009 and triggered 40 objections from nearby residents concerned the units would spoil the Hopkins River vista.
Councillors rejected the application in March 2011 which triggered a Lyndoch appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) which ruled against the council in October.
VCAT said the proposal balanced a number of important state and local policy objectives relevant to the river setting and urban design providing housing needs for an ageing population.
“While the proposal will have some impact on private views across the site, these are not reasons to refuse a permit on the balance of the positive planning outcomes that will be achieved,” the tribunal ruled.
Mr Atkinson said the new buildings would have a three units above a lower garage, all connected by a lift.
“They will be two-bedroom designs with room for an extra bed,” he said.
“We have designed them to be stepped back from the river to lessen visual impact.
“For the first stage a couple of the older units on Marfell Road, a couple on the river side and a couple in the middle have been demolished to make space.
“They were built in the ’50s and ’60s. All were empty and no one had to be displaced.”