New South Wales aged care provider St Andrew’s Village Ballina has been announced as the new operator for Feros Village Byron Bay with the provider already confirming it will invest $3 million into upgrading the residential care community.
The ownership change ensures local residents continue to have access to high-quality aged care services despite the site’s previous owner, Feros Care, intention to demolish the facility.
It was revealed in October that Feros Care would hand over ownership to another provider after they initially announced the closure of their Byron Bay site in February due to the 30-year-old facility being below modern aged care standards. Although no plans had been approved they intended to build a new facility in the coming years.
However, with the announcement of the site’s closure, residents were given just a few months to find new accommodation. Of the 40 who lived there, only eight remain, but now there’s hope from the new owners that many of them will return to their beloved community.
“St Andrew’s recognises the sense of ownership many in the community feel toward the Feros site and following the drawn out process of the last year, our priorities are now clearly focused on the residents, both current and future of St Andrew’s Byron,” said Todd Yourell, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of St Andrew’s.
“We plan to offer a seamless transition for the eight current residents and we look forward to welcoming back any residents who have sought new accommodation since February and who may choose to return to the Marvell Street site.”
With Feros Care previously stating the facility was unsuitable and unsafe in its current form, an initial $3 million investment by St Andrew’s is a critical first step. The funds will go towards the introduction of new beds ($120,000), a nurse call system ($150,000), a fall detection system ($48,000) and kitchen upgrades.
Residents will be key players in the future of their home, too, as their input will inform design changes and upgrades.
“We believe we can improve and successfully operate the facility in accordance with the current class of use. We anticipate working closely with Byron Shire Council to carry out the upgrade with an absolute minimum of inconvenience to the residents,” added Mr Yourell.
Government representatives identified St Andrew’s local roots as one of the top reasons for choosing the provider. Now, the next step is cementing a long-term lease to ensure consistency is maintained over the coming years. This will allow for ongoing planning and upgrades to the facility.
“This is a massive community victory and together we’ve secured the long-term future for this important aged-care facility for our area. Thanks to everyone for all your great efforts,” said Justine Elliot, Federal Member for Richmond.
St Andrew’s will take over the operation of the Byron Bay site on January 29 with the facility adopting the new name, St Andrew’s Village Byron Bay.