Mystery donation gets aged care centre off ground

A $3.5 million aged care community services centre will be built at Treelands Reserve in Ballina, thanks to a mystery donation of $520,000.

The mystery donor has stipulated that the money must be put towards a purpose-built building serving the shires elderly population.

Ballina mayor Phil Silver said the idea of a one-stop-shop housing aged care service providers (state, federal and non-government agencies) was one which Council had been struggling to get off the ground for quite some time. He said they had already secured a federal grant of $500,000 which has subsequently accrued $125,000 of interest.

Tenders were called for the project two years ago, but costs came in at double what was expected.

Its fair to say (this donation) has gotten the project over the line, said Cr Silver. The community is obviously very grateful.

He said Council had been thinking of buying a commercial building in town and converting it, but that wouldnt have qualified for the donation. The other option Council had been looking at was Wigmore Park.

Cr Silver said they had already invested $300,000 in architectural and geo-technical reports for the Treelands Reserve site.

Were going to use the existing design and call for fresh tenders, he said. Hopefully it will come in at a lower price (than the first round of tenders) because the building market is much flatter now. Thats been our experience on a couple of recent projects.

The remainder of the money for the community services centre will be made up of $675,000 from section 94 contributions and $1.7 million from Councils own cash reserves, stemming from the sale of land at North Angels Beach to developer Chris Condon in 2002.

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