BaptistCare is planning to develop $12 million worth of community and affordable housing on land adjacent to the BaptistCare Orana Centre on Brisbane Water Dve, Point Clare, but some local residents are concerned about the proposal.
Central Coast Council has received nearly 200 submissions objecting to the DA.
A development application has been submitted to Central Coast Council outlining plans to build 55 units, 43 of which will be available to seniors.
The proposal is a development under Schedule 4A EP&A Act 1997, being community facilities for the purposes of affordable housing and group homes with a capital investment value of greater than $5 million and therefore the application will be referred to the Central Coast Joint Regional Planning Panel for determination.
“This housing addresses a critical shortfall in suitable, affordable, housing for seniors in Point Clare and Gosford due to the ageing population,” according to a media statement from Baptist Care, responding to significant community opposition to the DA.
According to the latest census data, 35 per cent of the Point Clare population is aged over 55 compared to the national average of 27.6 per cent.
In greater Gosford, the over-55 age group is expected to grow by two-thirds to account for over 40 per cent of the population by 2026.
“The housing replaces previous accommodation on the site which was demolished in 2016 to make way for the development.
“The previous accommodation included a retirement village and low-care residential places within the Orana Centre, which was of a similar occupancy (57) and density to the proposed development.
“The remaining 12 units in the proposal will be offered to single-parent families.
“Of those, six will be affordable rental housing for single parents who are working, but on low to moderate incomes, being key workers such as child care workers, health workers, teachers, or nurses who provide essential services locally.
“The other six units will be for single parents who will have the full support of BaptistCare’s training division, Hope Enterprises, and our partnership with TAFE, to enable them to undertake training and education to increase their employment opportunities.
“As a major employer on the Central Coast, BaptistCare is also well placed to offer employment and training opportunities in aged care, administration and hospitality.
“When complete the community housing will be actively managed by BaptistCare staff on site and will be integrated with BaptistCare’s suite of services, such as home care services for seniors, job training, counselling and other community services, to foster the wellbeing and independence of residents and, where appropriate, help them to transition to long-term housing in the private rental market.
“With an ageing population, increasing costs of living and a housing affordability crisis, there is an urgent need to improve access to suitable, affordable housing for seniors and single-parent families in the community.
“An increasing portion of these demographics are in rental stress, paying more than a third and sometimes more than half of their income on rent.
“Increasing access to affordable and community housing is a key strategic priority for BaptistCare as part of its commitment to serve the aged and people living with disadvantage.
“BaptistCare has removed a reference to crisis housing in its development application and the classification has been changed from temporary to permanent group homes.
“It was never our intention to offer crisis or transitional housing, and the change to permanent status clarifies this.
“BaptistCare has held two informal community information sessions on March 14 and June 19, to update the community on the process and to address questions our neighbours may have had on the proposed development.
“Council is currently considering the proposal and a decision is expected in the coming months,” the BaptistCare statement said.
According to a group called Point Clare Residents Against BaptistCare Orana Development, the June 19 meeting at Gosford RSL was attended by over 200 Point Clare residents.
They were addressed by BaptistCare’s General Manager of Housing, Mr Mike Furner.
“The meeting came on the back of an outcry from the local community who got wind of the development that BaptistCare did not intend to publicise as ‘it did not affect Point Clare residents’,” said the group’s spokesperson, Mr Chris Golden.
“This huge development in the heart of Point Clare attracted fierce community concern and anger,” Mr Golden said.
“BaptistCare is no longer only concentrating on aged care, it has instead signed a multimillion dollar contract with the state government to provide social and affordable housing,” he said.
“BaptistCare’s presentation spelled out where they wished to head with the Orana development, including expanding their footprint into residential streets, and put a timetable to their plans.
“The primary community concern is that this huge multi-million dollar, high density 55 unit complex will profoundly change the character of Point Clare forever from the quiet, family-oriented community it currently is.
“BaptistCare has confused the community with their ever-changing development proposal and terminology, and has continually failed to address the concerns voiced by residents regarding the lack of infrastructure in Point Clare for a development on such a massive scale.
“Towards the end of the meeting, the question was put to Mr Furner, ‘if the Joint Regional Planning Panel rejects the 55 unit, multimillion dollar development as wrong for Point Clare, do you have a Plan B?’
“The answer was ‘there is no Plan B’ so it seems it’s all or nothing in the minds of BaptistCare.”
According to the Statement of Environmental Effects (SEE) submitted in support of the DA, the part of the Orana site on which the former Magnolia wing was located, together with land with frontage to Northwind Ave, is the land to be used for the development of the proposed affordable housing for seniors and families.
In addition to the self-contained seniors housing units and affordable units, a community room would be provided on the ground floor of the building, and 23 car parking spaces would be provided along with a central communal open space area, according to the SEE.
“It is proposed to subdivide the development site, being Lot 20 DP 879925 into two allotments, to separate the existing residential care housing component from the proposed self-contained dwellings to be provided as part of this application,” the SEE said.
“Although BaptistCare will maintain ownership of both lots, from an operational perspective, it is more logical to separate the two uses.
“The existing facilities, including buildings and car parking, will be located on proposed Lot 200, which will have an area of 11,948 square metres.
“The development which is the subject of this DA will be located on proposed Lot 201, which will have an area of 7,895 square metres.
“A communal vegetable garden is also proposed between Blocks C and D and a children’s play area is proposed between Blocks G and H.
“A series of accessible paths linking the dwellings with the communal open space areas, car parking areas, a community room, garbage bin storage areas and public roads are also proposed to be provided.
“In addition, the existing 1.5m wide footpath will be extended along the Girralong Ave frontage and a new footpath will be provided along the Northwind Ave frontage of the site.”
Media statement, Jul 4
Elizabeth Byrne, BaptistCare
Media release, Jun 27
Chris Golden, Point Clare Residents Against BaptistCare Orana Development
Website, Jul 11
DA51373/2017, Central Coast Council Gosford DA Tracker
Jackie Pearson, journalist