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New Echuca aged care facility approved

Campaspe Shire Council has approved a new aged care facility for Echuca, with some conditions.

MONQIE PRESTON November 23, 2012 4:20am

A new 120-bed aged care facility for Echuca has been given the go-ahead.

Campaspe Shire councillors approved a plan for the facility at Tuesday night’s first council meeting, subject to several conditions.

Campaspe Community Aged Care, to be built on the north-east corner of the Northern Hwy and Fehring Lane, will include 30 low-care beds, 60 high-care beds and 30 dementia beds in one building.

As well as bedrooms, the 7306m2 facility will have communal and service areas, including kitchen, laundry, staff room, dining and lounge areas for each of the three wings, a library, internet space, craft room, meeting rooms, offices, medical stations and a reception.

Several gazebos and verandahs are proposed outside the building, along with a children’s playground near the front entrance.

Echuca resident and former Campaspe Shire councillor Kevin Simpson addressed Tuesday’s meeting, speaking about concerns he had with footpath access for residents.

Council’s conditions require a footpath linking the facility with a Northern Hwy service road be built.

However, Mr Simpson believes the footpath should be extended from the facility to Rose St, where it will then connect to existing footpaths.

‘‘Such a facility needs to be well connected to the community,’’ Mr Simpson said.

‘‘A lot of these people might want to take a walk.

‘‘A lot of them will have gophers.’’

Mr Simpson said the extra section of footpath would cost about $100,000 more, but would be a good decision.

‘‘It was a poor decision (by council) when Cunningham Downs (aged care facility) was allowed to be built without pedestrian access,’’ Mr Simpson said.

‘‘I ask councillors to provide residents which is so important.’’

Despite Mr Simpson’s submission, councillors decided to go ahead with a recommendation put to them by council officers to only require the footpath as far as the Northern Hwy service road.

In a report to council, councillor officers said as 90 of the 120 beds were devoted to high care and dementia, many residents would have limited mobility and would generally not walk to local services.

The facility will also operate a private bus service for residents to access Echuca’s town centre, while a bus stop, with bus shelter, will also be built for residents to access the town bus service.

Council’s conditions also required building work on the facility starts in the next two years, with work to be completed within four years.

When completed, the facility is expected to employ 120 to 140 staff, with a maximum of 35 staff on site at any one time.

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