A lack of movement on a retirement village proposal first announced five years ago has seen two others show interest in providing the service to Deniliquin.By Jess Everingham
Southern Cross Care is looking at options for finally constructing a retirement village in Deniliquin, while two other entities are also showing interest.
Southern Cross Care chief executive officer Paul McMahon visited Deniliquin last month and met with ‘‘a couple of local developers’’, as well as Deniliquin Council.
‘‘There’s a few people in town that have got a few ideas,’’ he said.
The CEO confirmed one idea is the possibility of a local partnership.
Southern Cross Care purchased a block of land in south Deniliquin in May 2008, with the intention of building a retirement complex.
The project never progressed any further, despite repeated calls from the community for a retirement village.
Mr McMahon now says gauging local interest in a retirement village will be a ‘‘priority’’ for the next six months.
‘‘What do people want? How big should a development be? Once you establish those, you can actually sit down and say how many units [you will] build,’’ he said.
Mr McMahon said if there is enough demand, Southern Cross Care will lodge a development application (DA) with council for the full potential of the project, but then build it in stages.
‘‘You may build half a dozen to begin with,’’ he said.
‘‘Then if there’s greater demand you build another half a dozen.
‘‘We’re doing that in Cootamundra. We’ve just opened our first four units in Cootamundra.
‘‘That would be the same in Deniliquin.’’
Mr McMahon said the DA process and building normally takes between 18 months and two years, but stressed that was only a generalisation.
‘‘I haven’t dealt with Deniliquin Council so I don’t really know how long it takes,’’ he said.
‘‘Smaller country towns are normally better and faster.
‘‘[It] really depends on the approval process, the availability of builders, all that sort of thing.’’
When Southern Cross purchased the Deniliquin land, the contract said the company had five years to complete the development. Mr McMahon said they are applying for an extension from the government.
Southern Cross Care is also not the only group looking into a retirement village in Deniliquin.
Deniliquin Mayor Lindsay Renwick said a Booroorban local, who has previously shown interest in a Deniliquin village and owns similar establishments in Victoria, was looking at it again.
Local surveyor Bob Veitch has also been in discussions with Deniliquin Council about establishing a village.
He previously looked at starting one in 2004, but received a ‘‘poor response’’ from Melbourne retirees.
He said he now plans to target locals, and will be working to gauge local interest soon.
He plans for the village to be like a smaller version of the Cobb Haven Village in Moama.
‘‘Something like 30 manufactured homes would be a viable proposition,’’ he said.
‘‘We will still be looking to the clubs, the [Deniliquin] Bowling Club, the RSL Club, and the Golf Club to provide the recreational facilities which would be organised within the village.
‘‘Manufactured home estates are fairly affordable.’’
Deniliquin Mayor Lindsay Renwick said it is important something happens soon.
‘‘It’s something that’s got to be done,’’ he said.
‘‘If we don’t get it shortly we will miss out totally.
‘‘Council have got to be supportive and make it happen.’’
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