PROJECT CANNED: This artist's impression of the planned aged-care facility at Derby St was released in April 2017.
PROJECT CANNED: This artist's impression of the planned aged-care facility at Derby St was released in April 2017. Contributed

Plans for project touted to 'reinvent' aged care scrapped

A PROJECT once touted to be an Australian-first that would "reinvent" aged care in the Gladstone Region has been scrapped.

In April 2017 Gladstone Regional Council, CQUniversity and Mercy Health revealed plans to transform the university's Derby St facility into an intergenerational aged-care hub.

The three parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding to outline their commitment to the project, named SoGlad.

One month after the plans were announced the Federal Government promised 70 aged care beds for the facility, worth $4.5million.

But CQU has been forced to look at other options for the Derby St facility after Mercy Health withdrew its support.

Gladstone associate vice chancellor Owen Nevin told The Observer that Mercy Health was not able to proceed with the investment and without an aged-care provider work on SoGlad stopped.

"The project was an exciting and challenging idea, which would have been at the leading edge of the sector both in terms of care and training. Projects like this by their nature are hard to deliver," Mr Nevin said.

SoGlad was planned to home elderly residents and retirees, offer allied health services and to serve as a training ground for CQU students.

Mercy Health and Aged Care CQ services executive officer Lesley Schneider said the company thought it was a "very exciting and innovative project".

She said at the time of signing the MOU all three parties understood it was at the concept stage and subject to agreements being finalised, approvals plus confirmed finance and funding.

Ms Schneider said Mercy Health committed "significant funds" to conduct a feasibility study, which identified it would "not be viable" for the company.

"Whilst regretfully this SoGlad project was not a viable proposition for our organisation ... (Mercy Health) remains open to expanding its Aged Care Ministry to Gladstone at some future point in time," Ms Schneider said.

SoGlad would have been another use for the Derby St facility, with CQU's Tafe students set to study at the new $12.5million TAFE Trades Training centre at the Gladstone Marina by the end of the year.

Gladstone Region Mayor Matt Burnett said it was disappointing the project was not going ahead but there were plans progressing for aged-care facilities.

Cr Burnett pointed to Phillip St Community Precinct and Flinders Village.

In the Federal Government's latest Aged Care Allocations Round, Flinders Village - a proposed retirement village for Tannum Sands - received 84 aged care beds.

The council had not committed funds towards SoGlad.



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