By Petrina Wright | Posted: Sunday July 30, 2023
The future of Presbyterian Support Southland (PSS) has been bolstered with a recent commitment to redevelop its Peacehaven residential village.
A high-level concept plan for the redevelopment was signed off last month by the PSS Trust Board, with the redevelopment envisaged to contribute to a retirement community that is vibrant and modern, meeting the needs of residents for years to come.
PSS is a charitable trust which has operated in Southland for over 100 years, and the investment marks an important step towards ensuring the organisation can continue well into the future.
Peacehaven consists of a care home and residential village on the same site at 498 Tweed Street. Significant parts of the site are nearly 70 years old.
PSS Trust Board chairman Craig Smith said the time was right to reinvest in the residential village facility, with some of the units and infrastructure at or near the end of their useful life.
“Our decision to reinvest and develop onsite signals our long-term intention and commitment to aged care services in Southland.”
The high-level concept plan proposes to replace existing cottages with modern Occupational Right Agreement (ORA) units, the construction of a new village community centre to consolidate village amenities in a new central location and ensure infrastructure servicing the site is fit for the future.
As part of the redevelopment, PSS will no longer offer rental accommodation on site beyond the completion of the redevelopment. Approximately 25 existing renters will be progressively impacted over the course of the staged three-to-five-year project.
PSS is committed to working with the renters to ensure suitable alternative accommodation options are identified utilising capacity within existing facilities, where possible, or within the wider community.
This decision was not made lightly but, with increasing refurbishment costs and recent changes to tenancy requirements, the Board felt it was important to balance safe, warm, modern facilities alongside the long-term financial sustainability of PSS. To upgrade the existing units to modern build standard was cost prohibitive for PSS and the decision was made to remove them and build new units.
Work on the first stage is expected to begin in the second half of 2024.
PSS is working with local partners to undertake an assessment to better understand housing needs in the community and determine whether it will be possible to repurpose the existing units to be removed from the site. The assessment will seek to ascertain the necessary steps, timeframes, likely costs, potential impediments, and opportunities associated with extending the life of the units as a community asset.
PSS chief executive Matt Russell, senior staff and Board members met with ORA holders and rental tenants today to talk through the proposed plans and discuss how it would affect them, and the options available to them.
Mr Smith acknowledged there was some distress amongst existing renters at the news their rental units will no longer be available long term.
“We will provide our renters with approximately 12 months’ notice from when their respective unit is about to be affected during the redevelopment to allow them time to secure alternative accommodation. We will also work with other aged care and housing providers to assist where we can with identifying suitable alternative accommodation,” he said.
PSS will continue to consult with ORA residents around the proposed final concept plan and seek their feedback. PSS staff will also continue to work alongside the Statutory Supervisor to ensure the ORA residents’ interests are protected throughout the redevelopment.
Registrations of interest for the new ORA units and serviced apartments are expected to open next year.