Tuesday, 31 July 2012
Highlighting a possible “out” clause in the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Harrington Waters developers, Greater Taree City Council Mayor Paul Hogan has reaffirmed his commitment to Council doing its best to keep the land reserved for an aged care facility at Harrington.
“The way this is written, the Roche Group could really just compensate the community with a piece of land anywhere – even at Brimbin”, the Mayor stated. “This is totally unacceptable to the community, which is why we’re taking action now”.
Recent comments by the Harrington Community Action Group have underscored the deep concern in Harrington about the future of the property and arrangements being made.
“It is the firm belief of Council and the desire of the community that this land is retained in Harrington for development to served the aged care needs of the local area.”, said Mayor Hogan.
“We all applaud the fine efforts of both Cr Keegan, and Mr Bob Smith of the [Harrington Community] Action Group, who spoke so well in favour of a facility there”, said the Mayor. “I would like to see a private or public health care provider to move in there as soon as possible, which is why Council is undertaking a market analysis to help that process”.
Greater Taree City Council General Manager, Gerard José stated this morning, “We certainly have not ‘stuffed up’ anything, as was incorrectly asserted by some in the media today. The MOU was prepared by a legal firm to reflect the intent of the partnership and outcomes sought by both Council and the Roche group, and was extensively considered by both parties before it was accepted.” He continued, “Council at the time [1990’s] got the best deal possible for the Harrington Community from the Roche Group, and we stand by our process in encouraging development of an aged care facility there.
“The provision of community based aged care has changed over the last decade in terms of standards, operating grants, demand led research, integrated models of care [ageing in place concepts], the physical footprint of land required, capital and recurrent costing and capacity of [both private and non-profit] providers.
“Council will be interested to receive from the Harrington community the research and information that they have on demand for a range of aged care that would sustain such a significant investment.”
The market analysis to be undertaken by the Greater Taree City Council will evaluate the lot size and requirements of any facility provider, and gauge market interest in the existing property at 823 Harrington Road. The property was part of a long-term arrangement between Council and the Roche Group to develop an aged care facility at Harrington.
The incoming Council after the 8 September elections is likely to further examine the matter.
Media Enquiries to David Shepard