Nurs­ing home stalled again

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - RICHARD KOSER

MEM­BERS of the lo­cal com­mit­tee which has spent the last 14 years lob­by­ing for a nurs­ing home to be built in Moss­man have ex­pressed out­rage that Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil is likely to post­pone mak­ing a fi­nal de­ci­sion on what to do with the land set aside for the fa­cil­ity.

At a gen­eral meet­ing to­day, the coun­cil­lors will con­sider a re­port rec­om­mend­ing seek­ing ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est to run the fa­cil­ity.

How­ever Marj Nor­ris, the chair of the non-profit Moss­man District Nurs­ing Home In­cor­po­rated, said she was “ap­palled”.

“Coun­cil has ba­si­cally said, ’Ev­ery­thing you’ve done so far hasn’t been good enough, you need to jump through these hoops again’,” Ms Nor­ris said.

“They’ve had our pro­posal and busi­ness plan since last Novem­ber.

“Coun­cil is clearly look­ing for a fi­nan­cial re­turn on this block of land. They seem to be say­ing, ’There must be some­one out there who would be will­ing to pay for the land’, but I don’t think that’s the case.

Divi­sion 10 coun­cil­lor Ju­lia Leu said she would pre­fer to see the land given to MDNHI, as the com­mit­tee re­quested in Novem­ber 2010.

“I would like to see coun­cil had agreed to the re­quest by the com­mit­tee,” Cr Leu said.

“I think it’s the best way to get a nurs­ing home built within a rea- son­able pe­riod of time. A con­tract could be con­structed that would en­sure that the land is used for our much-needed aged care fa­cil­ity.

“Fur­ther de­lays could jeop­ar­dise the com­mit­tee’s ef­forts to se­cure the nec­es­sary bed li­cences in the next Aged Care Ap­provals Round.”

Ms Nor­ris said the coun­cil de­ci­sion to throw open the gates to other bid­ders would sim­ply post­pone the cen­tre.

“With an as­set like that in the bank, we could ap­ply for 60 beds in the next round of fed­eral grants and go to the banks,” she said. “As it is, our hands are tied.” How­ever, coun­cil said the process was in­tended to en­sure coun­cil ex­plored ev­ery av­enue be­fore gift- ing the land to the com­mit­tee.

“We’re not clos­ing the door on the com­mit­tee,” coun­cil’s gen­eral man­ager for com­mu­nity, sport and cul­tural ser­vices Ian Lowth said.

“How­ever, we need to go back to the com­mit­tee for fur­ther in­for­ma­tion, and it’s an op­por­tu­nity to test the mar­ket. There are dif­fer­ent ways to skin a cat, and the EoI process is seen as the best way to flush out other in­ter­ested par­ties.”

Mr Lowth said coun­cil is ex­plor­ing the op­tion of sell­ing or leas­ing the land rather than gift­ing it to the com­mit­tee in an ef­fort to en­sure “we’ve got ev­ery­one on a level play­ing field”.

How­ever, Ms Nor­ris is con­vinced a non-profit group is the only fi­nan- cially vi­able op­tion. There’s sim­ply no money in high-care nurs­ing fa­cil­i­ties,” Ms Nor­ris said.

“We can do it be­cause non-prof­its can gain GST ex­emp­tions, we have ac­cess to in­ter­est-free loans. For a com­mer­cial op­er­a­tor with­out those con­ces­sions, the re­turns on in­ten­sive care fa­cil­i­ties sim­ply aren’t there.”

Coun­cil last year can­celled an agree­ment with Ku­birri Hold­ings, which had agreed to build a mixed high and low-care fa­cil­ity but had been un­able to se­cure fi­nanc­ing to be­gin con­struc­tion. Moss­man phar­ma­cist John Anich sold the block to the Dou­glas Shire Coun­cil in 2007 specif­i­cally to be used as a nurs­ing home.

Wanted: the al­leged thief in ac­tion with the tod­dler in the back­ground

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.