Retirement village boost for Katikati

A new $80 million retirement village in Katikati will bring more than $1 million into the region each year and create more than 40 new jobs, the group behind the project says.

Summerset Group will begin work to construct the first of 200 homes on the 7-hectare waterfront site at the end of Park Rd before the end of the year.

An economic impact study conducted when the company bought the land in 2007 estimated the village would inject about $38 million into the Western Bay of Plenty economy during the five-year development phase and $1.3 million in each year of operation.

Summerset chief executive Norah Barlow said the 200-home facility would house about 350 people, who would become part of the local community.

"They will shop in Katikati. They will join the bowls club. Active older people are really great for the community," she said. "They volunteer, they donate money, they are the people on the streets during the day. People in retirement villages are fairly active people."

Residents are expected to be living in the first 33 villas to be built by July or August next year.

Construction of the rest of the 200 homes and a care centre with rest home and hospital care facilities will take place within the next five years.

Mrs Barlow said the company would use local contractors wherever possible throughout the construction process.

The development could see up to 500 contractors employed during different stages, she said.

Summerset would employ about 40 people to manage the Katikati village, work as caregivers, look after the grounds and work in the kitchen and cafe. Western Bay of Plenty District Council Katikati ward councillor Norm Mayo said any such development could only be positive for the area. "I'm all for growth in Katikati. There's got to be provision made for our old people there's more here than anywhere else," he said. "I can only speak positively about it."

Mrs Barlow said the Katikati lifestyle was one many retirees were looking for.

"A lot of people like to be near a village or small community and like to be part of the community," Mrs Barlow said. "It's great for people who want links to bigger places and still be near the beach and have a provincial feel."

In Tauranga, 17 per cent of the over-75 population lived in retirement villages compared to 9 per cent nationally, and demand was continuing to grow, she said.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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