Nursing home charge stoush
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.”