Kerikeri Retirement Village has revealed plans to buy up as many as 42 neighbouring properties and more than triple its number of units as it tries to cater to an exploding elderly population.
The village told neighbours about its expansion plans at a series of public meetings yesterday.
The first retirement complex in Kerikeri and the only one run by a non-profit trust, it currently has 87 independent living units and 66 care beds a short distance from the town centre.
It wants to expand to about 300 units and 100 beds to cope with what chief executive Hilary Sumpter calls ''the silver tsunami'', caused by an ageing population plus an influx of new residents to the Bay of Islands.
The village's announcement comes just a month after aged-care firm Arvida unveiled plans to spend $130 million building a retirement complex with about 200 villas and 80 care beds on an 18ha site off Hall Rd.
Sumpter said Kerikeri Retirement Village planned to buy up properties on Wendywood Lane, Stella Dr and the southern and western sides of Hawkings Cres as they became available.
The village would pay competitive prices but wouldn't pay over the odds. Nor would anyone be pressured into selling, she said.
''We will simply be there as a willing buyer if and when anyone in our area of interest wishes to sell.''
No timeline had been set for acquiring the land, which would be used for more units plus buildings up to three storeys high. From the street the new buildings would be designed to look like large houses rather than apartment blocks.
Some intensification was needed to avoid urban sprawl and encroaching on other neighbourhoods, Sumpter said.
The village was awaiting building consent for its first two-storey apartment building, which would house up to 40 people and open by the end of 2019.
If properly harnessed the district's rapidly increasing elderly population could have significant upsides, Sumpter said.
With 145 staff the village was already a significant employer and every 100 new units would create another 64 jobs in a wide range of occupations, not counting the multiplier effect of new jobs in retail and other industries.
The Far North District Council's own modelling predicted a 52 per cent rise in the number of over-65s in the district over the next 10 years and a quadrupling of over-80s in the next 20 years.
The village was doing its best to prepare for a greying population but the council had to play its part by providing the required infrastructure such as water, sewerage and roads.
''The thing about the silver tsunami is that we can't stop it, it's what's happening.''
Mayor John Carter had started discussions with the aged-care sector but she urged council staff to focus on the issue before community infrastructure was overwhelmed.
Sumpter earlier welcomed Arvida's development, saying demand was so high and waiting lists so long the village couldn't meet the need on its own.