Project stalls

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Southern Cross Care has withdrawn from partnering with Edward River Council to deliver a retirement living project in Deniliquin.

The news was confirmed yesterday, only five months after the NSW and ACT-based company was appointed as the preferred contractor.

Edward River Council Mayor Norm Brennan has been quick to say the development does not put the project in jeopardy.

‘‘While we are disappointed that Southern Cross Care is no longer able to progress the development, council will be investigating other potential development opportunities over the coming months,’’ Cr Brennan said.

‘‘Given Southern Cross Care’s experience in delivering aged care services, as well as the organisation’s existing presence here in the Edward River region, council was excited to be partnering with them on this project.

‘‘Council has undertaken various works to ready the site for use, including levelling and fencing, constructing entries and connecting water and sewer, and we remain committed to exploring its suitability as a retirement living development location.’’

Southern Cross Care marketing & communications manager Adrian Nolan said the company’s decision to withdraw from the new facility also has no bearing on its existing Deniliquin facility — Orana Residential Aged Care.

He said the decision to withdraw from the project was simply due to workload.

‘‘Southern Cross Care has considered the development carefully and within the context of (our) current development commitments,’’ he said.

‘‘At this time, Southern Cross Care is committed to six other development projects across New South Wales. Because of these, Southern Cross Care can’t envisage advancing this project with Edward River Council within the short to medium term.’’

He said Southern Cross Care remains committed to existing residential aged care facilities in Deniliquin, Corowa, Lavington, Leeton and Moama and all Home Care Services within the region.

This is the second time Southern Cross Care has shown interest in building a retirement complex in Deniliquin, but has not proceeded.

In May 2008 the company purchased land behind Deniliquin South School off the Cobb Highway for the development of a retirement village.

The contract gave it five years to start the development, and despite meeting with potential contractors in 2013 nothing has eventuated.

Council started to acquire land bordered by Napier, Harfleur, Hardinge and Poictiers Sts for the purpose of developing a retirement living complex in August 2016.

Land preparation works were funded using part of a $400,000 allocation from the Murray Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Program.

Council called for expressions of interest to ‘‘design, build, finance and operate a retirement village in Deniliquin’’ in October 2017, and began working with Southern Cross Care on the due diligence process in March 2018. The company was eventually named as the preferred contractor in November last year.