Shellharbour aims to be 'aged care capital'

An artist’s impression of  UnitingCare Ageing’s Shellharbour facility, which is set to be constructed in 2013 or 2014.
An artist’s impression of UnitingCare Ageing’s Shellharbour facility, which is set to be constructed in 2013 or 2014.

Shellharbour will become the state’s aged care capital if Mayor Kellie Marsh gets her way.

The council this week approved a long-term strategy for its largest seniors’ housing development, next door to Stockland Shellharbour.

UnitingCare Ageing wants to build a $120million complex in the city centre, reaching up to five storeys and including up to 372 apartments, a church, and commercial and retail space.

However, a development application still needs to be submitted and approved.

‘‘We need to go out of our way - and I have been - because we’ve got an ageing population and we need to make sure that we’ve got not only the beds for them but the type of living that they want,’’ Cr Marsh said. ‘‘My vision is for Shellharbour City to be the aged care capital of NSW ... we need more jobs and aged care is a fantastic sector.’’

Nearby, at Shell Cove, Warrigal Care is building a $60million retirement-living area with 125 aged care beds and 98 independent living apartments.

Between them, the developments represent a major leap forward for aged care in the city.

UnitingCare Ageing bought the site in Wattle Rd from Landcom for $8.9million in 2009. South-eastern regional director Joe Gaudiosi said the organisation was preparing a community needs analysis of the Shellharbour area, to be completed in the coming months.

A development application would be submitted towards the end of the year, he said.

The council this week supported the precinct development strategy for the 4.2ha site despite the fact it failed to meet height and floor-space ratio restrictions in the 2011 draft local environmental plan (LEP). A report to the council said the draft LEP would have to be ‘‘considered’’ when assessing a DA.