Nursing home to boost employment

A PROPOSED $50 million nursing home to be built at the Evans Head MemorialAerodrome has the potential to be the largest employer in the town.

The nursing home’s backer, RSL Lifecare, has reached an agreement with the Richmond Valley Council (RVC) for the conditional sale of a parcel of land on the aerodrome, which was ratified by the council on Tuesday night.

RSL Lifecare is yet to lodge a development application, but it is expected the facility will have a 120-bed nursing home, aged-care units, residential housing and other facilities.

The general manager of the Richmond Valley Council, Brian Wilkinson, said he expected $19 million of the expected $50 million construction costs to be spent in the RVC local government area.

“There will be up to 100 construction jobs initially, and one of the outcomes is that about 85 full-time positions could become available after it is built,” Mr Wilkinson said.

“It is expected there will be an annual turnover of about $6 million. Potentially, it could be the biggest employer in Evans Head.”

RSL Lifecare is a charitable organisation that was set up in 1911 to care for veterans.

It now cares for up to 4000 residents Australia-wide,including the Ex-Services Village at Ballina and the Bayside at Byron Bay.

Before any building can start, remediation work estimated to cost $3.5 million to decontaminate the site of a number of toxic materials will be conducted.

The Federal Government will pay half of the decontamination costs, while the Richmond Valley Council will pay for the other half.

It is expected construction work could commence as early as March next year, if the development application is successful. The first stage of the nursing home could then be completed a year later.

Mr Wilkinson said the council had also received a proposal from the Evans Head Airpark consortium that hopes to establish a residential airpark at the aerodrome.

Involved in the consortium are Peter Lynch, the president and chief executive of Waratah Coal, and former Olympian and Ironman Grant Kenny, the owner of the largest private aviation company in Australia.

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