A SERIES of community meetings were held yesterday to discuss a proposal to build a new seniors housing estate, medical centre and shopping village on 15ha on Ewingsdale Rd.
The project will flank the approved new Byron Shire Hospital site on the east and west sides, and necessary changes to the Local Environmental Plan (LEP) have been deemed suitable by Byron Shire Council, with the changes now before the Department of Planning and on exhibition until August 12.
"The building uses would predominately be for seniors housing, with a small portion near the existing concrete batching plant dedicated to permit medical centres, business premises, restaurants or cafes and shops," Byron Shire Council's executive manager of planning Ray Darney said.
Mr Darney said that following the exhibition, if the council determined that the additional uses should be permitted, then a development application would need to be lodged and approved prior to any work commencing at the site.
"With the over-65 demographic being projected to move from 13% of our population currently to 22% in our shire by the year 2031, council believes this planning proposal should be considered and could complement the future hospital site and the needs of an ageing population," he said.
The developer of the Ewingsdale Seniors Living Plan, Belbeck Investments, said the recent state government announcement to fund the new shire hospital was a "game changer" and it is progressing with the concept in response to a serious shortage of seniors' accommodation in the area.
Belbeck Investments director, Leigh Belbeck said four years of research had gone into identifying the site as being ideal for the project.
"This region has one of Australia's fastest growing ageing populations but not enough seniors' accommodation," Mrs Belbeck said.