Some residents in Graham Street and Johnstone Street fear that Bundaleer's plans for a new four-storey nursing home will adversely affect them.
On May 16, Port Macquarie-Hastings Council confirming a planning proposal for a 140-bed aged care and sub-acute care facility by Bundaleer Care Services fronting Johnstone Street and a sub-acute care facility on High Street.
The council sent the planning proposal for the facility to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment for ministerial approval.
If approved by that planning authority, the proposal would go on public display with those comments coming back to council before a final determination.
Alan and Sandra Petts fear their home in Graham Street will be in the shadow of the new building and say it should be sympathetic to the surrounding area.
“We are opposing the height; it’s four stories in a two-storey zone. There will be increased traffic, noise and light pollution at night,” said Sandra adding that many residents retired there from the cities and don’t want to live among high-rise buildings.
Her neighbours, John and Pixie Hammond said their main concern is that they will have no privacy at all in their back yard, and that the sun will now be blocked.
“We do most of our living in the back yard. We have lived here for 23 years,” said Pixie, who is also afraid that the development will devalue their property.
Elizabeth Raine and John Squires, former Uniting Church ministers in Wauchope, now living in Perth, currently own 6 Graham Street and 10 Johnstone Street.
“John and I own the only residential property right next to Bundaleer. As the next door neighbours, we are deeply disappointed that there was no attempt to consult with us before this vote. This proposal, should it go ahead, will profoundly affect our property,” said Elizabeth.
“We have been submitting plans to Council for the last two years for approval for casual accommodation at the back of the Johnstone Street property. The plan was to demonstrate urban sustainable living for people holidaying in the area and interested in this way of living. It was also to supplement our woefully low pensions from the church.
“This land and this project is our superannuation plan. We have no other. A four storey building next door will shadow our garden and solar panels, and impact what we can grow and how much power we can generate.
“Further, at night, Bundaleer creates an enormous amount of light pollution which affects our back building greatly. A lot of traffic is currently generated by Bundaleer, beginning at 6am, and it is consistent and loud. I assume this will increase greatly,” she said.
Elizabeth said they know that elderly folk need accommodation and has no objection to a smaller extension of Bundaleer.
“We feel Council has been happily taking our money to set up our property and subdivide it (nearly $30,000 to date), yet seems to want to go ahead, without talking to us, with a plan that may destroy what we have worked so hard to achieve," she added.
Ian Chegwidden, Chairperson of Bundaleer Board of Directors said they understand the concerns that some of their neighbours may have voiced.
“Bundaleer is pleased that Port Macquarie Hastings Council have supported our rezoning proposal and it is important to note that the proposal is still at the very earliest stages. The next phase, as supported by PMHC, will involve formal public consultation during the exhibition period as part of the rezoning application process,” he said.
“Bundaleer have worked hard to consider potential issues and minimise the impact of our proposed design on the neighbouring properties, taking into account shadows, privacy and traffic studies.
“As our only directly adjoining neighbours are located on Graham Street, the building has intentionally been set back a significant distance from this boundary, with plans for landscaping in keeping with the local flora.
“The concept designs prepared to date have included several shadow analyses, confirming the reduced shadowing on neighbouring properties, which will also be available during the exhibition period.
“Furthermore, it is worth noting that our proposal is not for 14.5m height over the entire property, rather there will be decreased height at the property boundaries which will further reduce any impact for our residential neighbours,” said Mr Chegwidden.
Dr. Philip Ewart of Hastings Medical Centre praised the proposed development:
“What we are seeing with the vision of Bundaleer is quite extraordinary. It is going to be a superb resource for the area and greater surrounds, what the ever-increasing population needs and wants. And at the same time attract high quality medical personnel to work in our community.
“The flow on effect will be tremendous. We’re looking forward to the state-of-the-art facility acting as a magnet to bring in high quality medical resources to enhance the care and offerings provided,” said Dr Ewart.
Bundaleer have invited their neighbours to meet and discuss the proposal in more detail and would welcome any of their neighbours contacting them directly to arrange a chat on 02 6585 2811.