Symbolic sod turning marks start of aged care build

THERE was celebration aplenty, though last Friday’s turning of the sod marking the start of construction of the new Prom Country Aged Care facility in Foster did not go exactly to plan. The weather made sure of that.

Wind squalls and driving rain prompted the organisers to relocate the event to St Joseph’s Church Hall, just down O’Connell Road from the building site, and arrange a purely symbolic turning of the sod – in a pot of turf on a green carpet.

Master of ceremonies Llew Vale urged the large crowd in attendance, numbering about 80, to exercise their imagination and picture themselves outside, on the building site, on a sunny day…

Acting President of the PCAC Committee of Management, Tristan White, paid tribute to the “amazing” funding from the federal government, various benefactors and the community which had enabled the building project to go ahead. He said: ‘We are delighted to be commencing the building and have every confidence that ADCO Constructions will deliver a quality, state-of-the-art facility of which our whole community can be proud.”

Llew Vale paid special tribute to Rob Knight, who in 2009 was instrumental in getting a $9 million grant from the federal government towards the $11.707 million build.

He then invited Senator David Feeney, deputising for the Minister for Ageing, Mark Butler, to ‘turn the first sod’. He was ably assisted by long-time Banksia Lodge resident Ron Ball and Kathleen Morris, who live at Prom View Lodge.

Kath, who celebrated her 100th birthday on August 21, said: “After reaching 100 the next thing I am looking forward to is moving into my new home!”

Ron Ball, a resident at Banksia Lodge since 2005, said, “I am really looking forward to enjoying all of the things our new home will have to offer.”

The new building was designed by architects ClarkeHopkinsClarke and is single storey, comprising three 20-bed modules. All residents’ rooms will have their own en suites, internet and telephone ports, and will be equipped to take overhead tracking for lifting should this be required. The plan is that residents will be able to ‘age in place’. That is, they should be able to remain in their own rooms, regardless of changes to their care needs. A special needs wing has also been designated to cater for residents with extra high care needs, including advanced dementia.

Each 20-bed module has its own internal courtyard with a special feature, such as an aviary, gazebo or fountain. Special lifestyle features include the flexible recreational areas, incorporating the cinema/family dining room, reflection/library room, coffee lounge and bar, consulting room and hairdressing room.

After the turning of the sod and a sausage sizzle cooked by members of the Toora Lions Club – in the shelter of the church hall porch – Senator Feeney visited Banksia Lodge and presented miniature gold-coloured garden forks and spades to the residents as mementoes of the auspicious occasion.

PCAC Chief Executive Officer Claire Schmierer said: “Our thanks to all of our staff and volunteers, also to the local football clubs – Toora & District Football Club, Foster Football Club, Fish Creek Football & Netball Club – for their sponsorship of the sausage sizzle, Toora Lions Club for cooking the sausages and PCAC Building Fundraising Committee for serving the sausages and tea and coffee. Special thanks to our wonderful residents.”

From The Mirror article on Foster Community Online.