New precinct a game changer for Noosa

July 2, 2021

Trusted aged care service provider BlueCare, an agency of UnitingCare Queensland, says the new integrated aged care and retirement living precinct it has approval from Noosa Shire Council and the State Government to develop at Sunrise Beach will be a game changer for the local Noosa community.

Group General Manager Property for UnitingCare, Ms Lavinia Dack, said the new precinct will provide opportunities for 260 residents to access unique care and lifestyle opportunities in the area they already call home, addressing Noosa’s critical shortage of aged care and retirement living housing options.

“We’re laying the foundations for better care, greater choice, and community connection. As a not-for-profit, mission-based provider of services across Queensland, BlueCare is drawing on our 68-year history of care to create a home and lifestyle offering that is truly unique for the Noosa community.

“The new precinct at Grasstree Court will give Noosa residents choice and control over their lives as they age, enabling individuals to stay in the local area they call home. We are giving people the ability to maintain closeness and connection with their friends, family, place of worship, and the local community no matter what their health and personal circumstances may be.”

Ms Dack said the design of the aged care home component of the precinct is a first for BlueCare, having been updated to respond to latest nationwide feedback from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, and to incorporate public health advice to support the management of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

“Reflecting recent recommendations from the Royal Commission, the aged care home design has been updated to operate like a small household. Eight and nine bed households are located around a central living area, providing improved functionality and amenity for residents whilst also offering greater access controls, sanitisation points, and designated paths of travel throughout the greater care home.”

The co-located retirement village, that is being developed on behalf of BlueCare by retirement village specialist Lendlease, completes the precinct vision for a place to call home that integrates quality care, choice and community connection in later life.

“Research shows that integrated independent living and aged care homes provide the best care outcomes for residents and their families. We feel confident the new precinct at Sunrise Beach will deliver a truly unique care and lifestyle opportunity for the Noosa community.”

Ms Dack said careful consideration had also been given to ecological management actions related to the precinct design and development to support Noosa’s natural heritage values and meet development approval conditions of Noosa Shire Council and the State Government.

“BlueCare continues to work with Noosa Shire Council, the traditional owners of the land and members of the local community regarding development of the Sunrise Beach aged care and retirement living precinct.

“In keeping with our commitment to delivering positive social, cultural and environmental outcomes for the Noosa community, we have adapted the precinct design to retain over 20 percent of site vegetation identified in our Ecological Management Plan for the benefit of local wildlife.

“In November last year we were also successful in asking Noosa Shire Council to amend our development approval so we could accede to the community’s request to stage construction of the precinct.

“The staged development means a reduction in the extent of vegetation clearing at one point in time, giving the trees we are replanting at a ratio of 8:1 on the nearby three hectare rehabilitation site at Girraween Nature Refuge, to benefit any affected local wildlife, more time to mature.

“Clearing and construction of the residential aged care home on Lot 6 of 9 Grasstree Court, Sunrise Beach will now occur before clearing of Lot 9 where the adjacent retirement village is destined to go.”

Ms Dack said BlueCare is committing more than $500K towards land rehabilitation works on Noosa Shire Council-owned land at the nearby Girraween Nature Refuge over the next five years to support habitat creation and carbon capture in Noosa Biosphere. More than four hectares of land surrounding the precinct site has already been dedicated to conservation as part of the purchase process with Noosa Shire Council, providing valuable habitat connectivity to Girraween Nature Refuge. The site is also connected to national park and land dedicated for conservation, providing adjacent, permanent habitat for local wildlife such as the glossy black cockatoo.

Ms Dack said BlueCare has been advised no glossy black cockatoo nesting trees are on the precinct site. A local cockatoo drinking site is also not on the precinct site.

“We think it is important the community receives accurate information about what is and what isn’t on the development site. This information, documented in the Ecological Management Plan, is publicly available for anyone to view on the Noosa Shire Council website.”

Ms Dack said BlueCare is also working through other aspects of the precinct’s development with stakeholders.

“We have been proactively engaging with nearby schools about the precinct to create a friendly dialogue around how we can work together to support the environment, deliver positive education, training and employment pathways for students, and generate opportunities for intergenerational social connection for mutual benefit.”

She said the $100M precinct is anticipated to reinvigorate the local Sunrise Beach shops and create hundreds of new jobs for the local community during construction.

“Once complete the precinct will also deliver around 170 fulfilling roles in residential aged care, hospitality, lifestyle and management.”


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