Concerns new development could mean traffic chaos
IT will supposedly be complete by early 2021, but not everyone is happy about Noosa's newest aged care facility.
The 90-bed Arcare aged care home in Goodchap St Noosaville will somewhat ease the aged care housing pressure in the shire.
A shire which, according to Arcare's 2018 development submission, will have a shortfall of over 250 aged care beds by 2026.
While the new facility may help ease the aged care bedding problem, residents are not convinced the same can be said for the extra traffic in the area.
Given the new complex is being built alongside the Noosa Hospital, it is hard to argue it won't add a traffic headache to an already busy area.
It has been a rocky few years for the Noosa Arcare aged care proposal.
In 2016, the development was put forward to sit alongside Noosa Civic on Walter Hay Dve, but that was not approved by Noosa Council.
While Council was supportive of the facility, that location got knocked on the head after it was decided the area was too much of a fire risk.
"We (council) reached the conclusion with our consultants that it's just not the appropriate site for this use," Council's planning and environment manager Kerri Coyle said.
"It is a vulnerable community and we're putting them in a high-risk situation."
That, and the fact that more than 2000 signatures had come from local residents opposing the location, due to it being a koala habitat, meant Arcare had to look elsewhere.
Council gave the green light to the Goodchap St location and work has commenced.
On the Arcare website, they predict an opening date of early 2021.
Arcare said the project was expected to create 158 full-time equivalent jobs during the construction phase and a further 178 full-time equivalent jobs during the ongoing operations phase.
But not everyone is jumping for joy.
Some residents are concerned the site, which comprises 6742 sqm and 52 car spaces, two for disability access, will bring added pressure to an already busy street.
In a recent letter to the editor, Peregian Springs' John Lobb believed the facility will create major parking and traffic problems.
And with over 100 submissions to Council, 96 objecting the development, it seems John is not on his own.
"I think it is in the wrong area - the hospital roundabout will be chaotic because there is already insufficient parking for this growing facility," he said.
"Other more suitable medical offices were rejected so why was this development approved?"
In reply, Noosa Council's Manager for Development Assessment Kerri Coyle said the proposal was approved in 2008 as it was considered compatible with surrounding residential uses and wouldn't impact on the amenity of the area.
"The applicant provided a traffic report as part of its application which was reviewed by Council's external consulting traffic engineer," she said.
"We were advised that the impact of the proposal on the broader road network would be insignificant."
"The report indicated the aged care facility would generate traffic similar to the volumes generated by 20 residential houses and there are nine residential houses currently on the site, so the additional traffic would only be equivalent to that generated by 10 houses," she said.
"Comparatively, the previously proposed medical centre was able to be accommodated in the existing business centres and was likely to have far greater impacts on resident's amenity."
Ms Coyle said Council approved the aged care facility as there was a significant need for aged care facilities within the Noosa area and the proposal satisfied part of this need.
"There are limited opportunities in Noosa for appropriately zoned land for the development of aged care facilities and overall the proposal is a good response for this site, considering its opposite the Noosa Hospital and a nearby medical centre."
Council went on to say, the operator advised at the time of the approval that typical shift times for the facility would be, day shift: 7am - 3pm, afternoon / evening shift: 2:45pm - 10:30pm, and night shift: 10:15pm - 7am.
Between 30 - 35 staff would be on site during the main 7am to 3pm shift, with staff numbers reducing in the 2:45pm to 10:30pm and night shift and further reduced on the weekends.
The front door/main entrance is positioned to Goodchap St away from the majority of residences in Val Cres, with access to the basement carpark from Val Crescent within 25 metres of Goodchap St to minimise traffic impacts on the majority of residents in Val Cres.