John is a senior reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

$100m aged-care project for Tauranga

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The Melrose Rest Home and Retirement Village is set for a $100 million upgrade. Photo/George Novak
The Melrose Rest Home and Retirement Village is set for a $100 million upgrade. Photo/George Novak

A$100 million plan to transform Tauranga's ageing Melrose Retirement Village into a modern complex catering for more than 300 people goes before the city council today.

Oceania Healthcare has applied for consent to redevelop the Waihi Rd village by building four apartment blocks holding 209 apartments, constructing a new care bed wing for 60 people and adding nine villas.

A council-appointed commissioner was due to hear Oceania's land use consent application today.

Earl Gasparich, CEO of the New Zealand-based company, said the redevelopment would cost more than $100 million and be staged over seven years. The staging was to maintain care on the site at all times, with construction planned to start early next year. "It is a great site with a great reputation and is what Oceania does well," he said.

Melrose currently had 110 hospital care beds and 60 retirement villas. The plan was to demolish the wing holding the care beds and replace it with 60 non-hospital care beds.

Of the 60 existing villas, 27 would be demolished to make room for the new buildings.

Although some of the villas were modern, the care facilities were tired, Mr Gasparich said.

"We are making houses available for the elderly in a form they can enjoy and it gives them access to care if they need it."

The report from council senior environmental planner Amy Spurdle has recommended granting the application, subject to conditions. She detailed how Oceania had applied to construct six multi-level buildings ranging from two to five stories in height, including an administration building and 60-bed rest home.

Oceania's application breached council planning rules because buildings exceeded maximum heights by up to 4m, exceeded density provisions for rest homes, did not comply with minimum parking requirements and exceeded the permitted earthworks.

The application was opposed by 10 neighbours. They highlighted the rule breaches and were worried about issues including loss of privacy, the duration of construction, health concerns from dust and noise, potential property damage during construction, subsidence, shadowing, traffic noise, loss of views and property values.

The proposed development's 216 carparks was a planning shortfall of 136 carparks. However, a traffic consultant said that the age of the occupants meant that between 130 to 145 carparks would be enough because a significant portion of the residents would not drive.

A traffic safety analyst concluded that the redevelopment would not result in "unacceptable traffic delays" or significant changes on Waihi Rd.

The landscape assessment concluded that the effects of a permitted development would be greater than Oceania Healthcare's proposal. Ms Spurdle agreed, saying that buildings could be constructed closer to the boundary with Tekoah Place which would have greater bulk, dominance, shading and privacy effects.

She said the apartment building closest to Tekoah Place was 17m from the boundary and, although it would be three storeys in places, the setback and change in ground levels would mitigate privacy effects.

Building management plans would ensure that construction effects were "acceptable".

Melrose redevelopment
Total residents: 311 (up 141)
Total retirement units: 242 (up 182)
Care beds: 60 (down 50)
Minimum age of residents: 75

- Bay of Plenty Times

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