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Final attempt to save Shorty

Thursday, 27th March, 2014

By Erica Visser

A City Councillor last night urged fellow representatives to go back on a decision to close Shorty O’Neil Village, due to alleged mismatched figures and the uncertain future of 42 bed licences.

However, all other councillors voted against Clr Bob Algate’s motion to “rescind the previous decision to close the village” and take no further action until the issues were sorted out.

As a result, Council could not vote to accept the exit strategy for the village, delaying the process by a month.

Clr Algate said that it “amazed” him that the figures within the exit plan for previous years were “clearly at odds” with those given by Council’s auditor.

“Until further investigation all actions to reduce the number of residents should be stopped immediately,” he said.

He also said it was important that the bed licences be secured before Council shuts down the village.

Council has not yet sought permission from the Federal Government to sell its bed licences.

“We haven’t finalised details with Legacy, we haven’t got government approval. We’ve made all these decisions (prematurely).”

Whilst there were some encouraging cheers from public gallery members, it appeared that councillors did not share the sentiment, all voting against the motion and setting back progress for another month.  

Mayor Wincen Cuy said that Clr Algate’s bid to save the village came as “a complete surprise.”

“I just think it was a waste of time...unfortunately all that happened was we delayed it for another month.

“It was quite a stalemate position, it’s delayed the process.”

Mayor Cuy said that Clr Algate had not understood the issues behind the exit strategy because he was absent from meetings on its development as he was in hospital.

“I believe if Clr Algate was there he might’ve fully understood.”

Meanwhile an aged care working party, with Clr Darriea Turley as its Chair, was approved last night and would head the future of aged care in Broken Hill.

Council was currently lobbying the Federal Government for funding to build a new facility, a concept Mayor Cuy said was “highly likely.”

“I’d like a 40 bed brand new facility to the standard of (Southern Cross Care owned) Harold Williams Home, if not better,” he said.

“In the next 18 months we would be working towards some sort of strategy.”

Mayor Cuy said that the public needed to accept that the village no longer met “modern criteria.”

“There’s going to be some short term pain for Council and residents and their families but there will be long term gain.”

Council will soon meet with members of the aged care department in Canberra.

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