May 17, 2023

Byron Bay aged care residents lawyer up against eviction

feros care closure
Matilda pictured with 95-year-old Faros Care resident, Kate Smorty and Kate’s daughter Dianne. [Source: The Echo]

A group of aged care residents refusing to be evicted from their facility in northern New South Wales (NSW) has obtained legal representation in a further push to stay where they are.

In March, Feros Care’s aged care village in Byron Bay announced it would close its doors on  June 23 as it was no longer fit for purpose under new Government Aged Care Quality Standards after previously failing to meet them. They planned to redevelop the site which would force residents to find new accommodation, leaving them disgruntled and unsure of their future.

But the lawyer representing the residents said Feros Care might not have a legal right to execute its plans as the development needs approval from Crown Lands which is managed by the State Government.

Lawyer, Mark Swivel, also sits on Byron Shire Council and said Feros Care doesn’t have this approval and that he would keep fighting on behalf of his clients for the village to remain open.

“There’s no permission that’s been granted by the state government for the place to close in terms of its use as a piece of Crown Land,” he told ABC News.

“And how that is a situation that anyone can tolerate in the community, in Government, I don’t know.”

According to Byron Bay’s The Echo newspaper, all residents have been offered a home in similar Feros facilities in Kingscliff and Bangalow in NSW.

Faros Care’s Chief Executive, Karen Crouch, also told ABC there were plans to develop alternative seniors accommodation on the site and that the village could not close until everyone had “suitable accommodation that can meet their future care needs”.

“We need to try to understand more and more about their personal situation, so we can really help them to find their next home because the village is closing.”

Residents met up on Sunday to discuss their eviction. 

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