Worse than a farce: Seniors plead case for aged care development

Worse than a farce: Seniors plead case for aged care development

SENIOR residents delivered impassioned pleas for City of Kalamunda councillors to approve a local development plan that will pave the way for an aged care development in Wattle Grove, bogged down by delays for 15 years.

Since 2004, landowner and aged care developer Ross Leighton has navigated myriad planning hurdles in his bid to develop an integrated aged care facility at 500 Gavour Road.

Save the Gum Trees of Wattle Grove co-ordinator Vanessa Mazza urged council on Tuesday night to deny the application on environmental grounds, including that it would destroy one of the lemon-scented gums the community had fought hard to save last year.

Other Wattle Grove residents argued the high density development did not fit in with the amenity of the area and would isolate the elderly from essential services.

However Gooseberry Hill resident James Hansen (81) said residents had had enough of delays.

“The whole Gavour Road issue is worse than a farce,” he said.

“At least a farce is funny.

“Since 2004 there has been endless stuffing around on mostly trivial matters driven by a group determined to delay and derail the project entirely.

“The has been fought with myopic intransigence by a small group whose rationale to an outside observer is incomprehensible.

“The City in a nation of 25 million people has for too long ranked near the bottom of the scale for aged care provision.

“We seniors are mostly a quiet lot content to live calmly and mind our own business.

“But we’re also a sizeable group of 12,000 who are looking with anxiety to our future.”

Wattle Grove resident Joan Steele (85) said delays to the Gavour Road proposal had caused her additional hardship and suffering.

“In 2014 my partner was diagnosed with a terminal illness and by January 2015 after a great struggle I could no longer care for him on my own, but there was no where for him to go,” she said.

“It was impossible for me to carry on being partially disabled myself so Silver Chain found him a bed at a small hospice near St John of God in Murdoch.

“A brain tumour robbed him of his speech and the ability to write so I needed to be there constantly.

“I had to drive to Murdoch each day where I slept in a chair by his bed every night until he died on Match 25, his 75th birthday.”

Friends of Aged Care chair Iris Jones said objectors to the project needed to ‘take a good hard look at themselves’.

“Some objectors are simply keyboard warriors who press a button on a computer to sign a petition whether they live here or not,” she said.

“They expect to change the world with one click, whilst our sick and infirm are shunted off to woop-woop.

“Where is their moral compass.

“The elderly in my group and their families are not environmental vandals.

“Many of them were directly involved, as I was, in the Up the Creek project at Lesmurdie Falls.

“Where were these valiant green warriors then? Not on that site I can tell you.

“Where were they last year when 185 hectares of government land was transferred to private developers in Bushmead who promptly bulldozed it for private housing?

“You could fit a dozen aged care facilities onto that land, yet not a peep of protest out of the lot of them.

“And now they are jumping up and down about one tree.”

Mrs Jones said hundreds of senior residents were being forced to die elsewhere.

“We had hundreds of elderly people who needed aged care beds 15 years ago,” she said.

“Where are they now? They are dead.

“And they died elsewhere because there was no room here.”

Councillors approved the local development plan 9 votes to 1.