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Southern Cross plans $16 million expansion

Wednesday, 1st April, 2009

Southern Cross Care (SCC) will embark on a $16 million expansion after approval was given for the construction of a retirement village and a new War Veterans' Hostel. The building projects, which have board approval to proceed, will deliver improved aged care services to the city and provide a much-needed boost to its economy. CEO Allan Carter yesterday said the projects would help address "unmet demand" for both residential aged care places and retirement village living in Broken Hill.

The new War Veterans' Hostel will be built next the St Anne's Nursing Home in Eyre Street at an estimated cost of $10 million. Construction is expected to start later this year. SCC last year secured a $3.2 million zero real interest loan from the Commonwealth Government for the new building which will include an additional 13 beds. Part of an $8m bequest from local man Jim McClure will also be used. Mr Carter said he expected a development application to be lodged with City Council in the next week or two after detailed drawings were finalised.

The project will also include construction of a new two storey administration block because SCC had "run out of space" in the former mine manager's house. "It was getting too difficult to make it work for us," Mr Carter said. SCC spent $1.5m renovating the Victorian-era house in 2006 as part of the St Anne's Nursing Home redevelopment. Mr Carter said the manager's house had become too small for an expanding administration, and the new building would give it the "flexibility" it needed. He said a decision was yet to be made on what would be done with the mine manager's house.

"We think some of it might go back to residential activities or used for training purposes. "It will be used we're just not exactly certain for what at this stage." Mr Carter said SCC was also satisfied it had sufficient interest in the retirement village concept to proceed with the project. SCC is planning to spend about $6m on the 30-unit village which would be built at the former St Joseph's High School site in Lane Street. Mr Carter said the only thing that would likely stand in the way of the project proceeding now was City Council.

"It's a difficult block and if we were made to do a tremendous amount of earthworks it just won't be viable," he said. "The big factor is something that would force us to do more earthworks than we have planned. "We don't actually envisage any issues with the actual construction of the houses." He said SCC was still "a couple of months" from submitting a DA to Council for that project. Mr Carter said both building projects would create four full-time equivalent positions; three at the War Veterans' Hostel and one at the retirement village.

A new position, Executive Manager Infrastructure, has also been created to "facilitate the expansion". Mr Carter said that Graham Jacquier has been appointed to the new role. "It is particularly pleasing that most of Mr Jacquier's experience in managing property comes in an aged care environment with organisations in South Australia and Queensland," he said.

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