Nurs­ing home charge stoush

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Madi­son Wil­liams

THE long-awaited devel­op­ment of the Moss­man Aged Care Fa­cil­ity could hit a hurdle due to a stand off be­tween the Dou­glas Shire Coun­cil and the Sal­va­tion Army over the pay­ment of a $250,000 in­fra­struc­ture charge.

This week Dou­glas Shire coun­cil­lors voted unan­i­mously not to waive the $250,000 charge de­spite the Sal­va­tion Army’s in­sis­tence that the devel­op­ment may be “un­able to pro­ceed”.

Coun­cil made the point that if it had to foot the bill it would mean a one per cent rate in­crease for the shire.

But coun­cil has of­fered to con­sider a pay­ment in­stal­ment sched­ule that will spread the cost of the in­fra­struc­tures over a greater time frame, which they hope will help the Sal­va­tion Army to move for­ward with the retirement fa­cil­ity.

Aged Care Plus chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Sharon Callister said they were dis­ap­pointed by the out­come. “In­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions will be on­go­ing to see how we can try and move the project for­ward,” she said.

In an April 26 let­ter to coun­cil Rohan McDon­ald, ex­ec­u­tive man­ager of cap­i­tal devel­op­ment projects for Aged Care Plus, rea­soned that it could be a real pos­si­bil­ity the project may not be able to move for­ward if they were forced to pay the charge.

“The pro­posed Res­i­den­tial Aged Care Fa­cil­ity is un­able to pro­ceed ab­sent the waiv­ing of 100 per cent of ap­pli­ca­ble in­fra­struc­ture charges,” Mr McDon­ald wrote.

“The Sal­va­tion Army, in good faith, in­tend to con­struct and op­er­ate an aged care cen­tre in

Moss­man to fill a com­mu­nity need in aged care; the project will also ful­fil com­mu­nity need in re­spect to em­ploy­ment as­so­ci­ated with the con­struc­tion and op­er­a­tion phases of the aged care cen­tre.

“The Sal­va­tion Army’s sole pur­pose is not to make profit from this devel­op­ment but pro­vide for com­mu­nity need.”

Mayor Julia Leu said coun­cil sup­port for the aged care fa­cil­ity had been “un­wa­ver­ing” but it would be un­fair to ex­pect an in­crease from ratepa­ters.

“Coun­cil is do­nat­ing ap­prox­i­mately 1.4 hectares of land, free of charge.

“Coun­cil also al­lo­cated $80,000 this fi­nan­cial year to progress the project.

“It is un­fair on ratepay­ers to ex­pect them to carry this re­spon­si­bil­ity.”

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