$17mil. retirement village to go ahead

By BELINDA SCOTT

ASTORIA hopes to begin work early next year on its $17 million retirement village at The Lakes Estate in the North Boambee Valley.

Following a meeting with the project's architects, the development manager for Astoria Group, David Guth, said yesterday this seemed the most likely starting time.

The development application for the village was approved by Coffs Harbour City Council on Thursday.

The staged development will include 92 self-contained single-storey two- and three-bedroom dwellings for independent living, a two-storey community centre, a lawn bowls green, tennis court and lap pool.

It is being built on a 5.6ha site off Lakes Drive by Astoria Platinum Villages, part of the Sydney-based Astoria Group, which has developed another retirement village at Lisarow near Gosford.

The Astoria Group is developing the 400-lot The Lakes Estate and also owns the Arrawarra Beach Caravan Park.

Astoria has also sold a 8800 square metre portion of land on the north-western side of the proposed village site to an unrelated company for another aged care facility.

Domain Aged Care Group, which has acquired the development from Ramsay Aged Care Pty Ltd, plans to build a 123-bed nursing home on the site. Plans for the nursing home were apprpoved last year by Coffs Harbour City Council but building has not yet begun.

The combination of Astoria's residential and retirement village developments has been described by locals as an $80 million investment but Mr Guth said yesterday $45 million was a more realistic conservative figure.

He said while The Lakes Estate would eventually include 400 lots, this would take 10 years and although most of the 64 lots in Stage 1 had been sold, Stage 2 was still under construction.

Discussion on the retirement village development application at the Coffs Harbour City Council meeting revolved around the provision of a free bus service to the village.

Cr Rod McKelvey asked for the larger bus and more frequent trips and Cr Ian Hogbin agreed that council needed to be encouraging public transport and decreasinging reliance on cars.

Councillors resolved to ask the developer to provide a 12-seater bus offering twice-daily trips to town rather than a 10-seater bus offering a once-a-day free bus service from Monday to Friday, as originally proposed.

The free bus service is required under Sen- iors Living State planning policy.



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