$15m plan to keep our retirees close to home
WATCHING elderly members of his community reluctantly move away from family and friends has always stayed with Mark Bindon.
"When I was a kid growing up in Armidale, you'd see the seniors have to leave and go down the coast in order to go into a retirement village," he said.
"It wasn't very pleasant for them. They often found it difficult and very isolating, being completely disconnected from their social network like that."
Fortunately, Mr Bindon has now made it his life's work ensuring that elderly residents can remain within their own community.
Now managing director of the Oak Tree Group, a company specialising in providing affordable and secure retirement villages across Australia, Mr Bindon is excited to see their latest village open up in Yamba in the near future. After that, Coffs Harbour and Nambucca.
Last month, the company submitted a development application to build a $15m complex, complete with pool, gym and 52 senior living units along Carrs Drive, Yamba.
"I've got a long-term connection to the area with my brother living and working here and it's taken us a long time to find an opportunity like this," he said.
"We've always identified Yamba and the Clarence Valley in general as somewhere people want to live and to retire but there's just not enough housing like this to accommodate that.
Mr Bindon said the Yamba development was aimed at residents who were looking to downsize but stay in their local area.
"The main reason people want to move to these villages is the maintenance. They're not sick or frail, they want to stay local but without the hassle of having to run their own property," he said.
"However, everything is purpose built as residents get older; there are no steps, wide doorways, and bathrooms that are designed to be easier to use."
Mr Bindon said the highlight of the Yamba project was its close proximity to St James Catholic Primary School.
"We have already spoken to the principal and they're excited about the prospect of the students interacting with residents," he said.
"We have other villages where seniors read with the kids. It's such a positive outcome and the residents in particular really get a lot out of it."
The DA2020/0725 currently on exhibition and awaiting approval from Clarence Valley Council.