Visions for Growing Older in Greytown

OrchardThe Orchard retirement community project was reported in June in the Times Age following the sale of Murphy’s fruit orchard in Reading Street Greytown. Developer, Mr Craig Percy, lives in Auckland and has family in the Wairarapa. The Times Age reported that the project will be a joint venture between him, a retirement village operator and Tumu group. According to their website Tumu group, based in Hastings, is an independent supplier of timber and associated products for the building and packaging industries in New Zealand, with wider investments in various sectors such as finance, property and manufacturing.

Talking business recognised that this may impact existing services provided by Arbor House the local rest home in Greytown. Arbor House was asked for comment and felt at this point it was too early for conclusions to be made.

Impact on Arbor House

However, in a written statement Rob Tuckett, chair of Arbor House board of trustees, said “The prospect of an extensive “Orchard Retirement Village” in Greytown is now clearly a reality. This must result in very considerable changes to the pattern of provision of age-related residential care, not only in Greytown but in the South Wairarapa as a whole. These changes must impact most directly on Arbor House, our community owned not-for-profit rest home and hospital. While recognising that Orchard Development Plan will secure the future for aged residential care in our area, Arbor House is very aware that there will be challenges to be met in the process. The Board of Trustees are of course fully committed to maintaining the high quality of care provided at Arbor house, as well as ensuring the security of employment of our staff.”

Talking business has taken soundings on the project and while this was a very welcome development was advised that the developer would need to have a strong capital base.

Consultation Called For

Community sources told the column that it would be desirable for consultation to occur about the project which could include discussion about the need to include people of all ages and backgrounds. The development may mean an influx of a lot more people aged over 70 to Greytown a change from its current mixed-age character. Consultation should guide the development of the project. One community member said that rather than moving they would like services delivered to their current homes. These may be publicly funded services or services they pay for themselves.

Some local people anticipate that “The Orchard project” is likely to be similar to those in Waikanae where residents purchase or lease a dwelling or serviced apartment. These generally constitute stand-alone houses, serviced apartments and in due course care home facilities including hospital and dementia level care.

We understand that the climate financially in which the smaller rest homes are now operating in most of the smaller towns in New Zealand is making their viability and sustainability increasingly doubtful. For example, locally the recent total closure of the Ultimate Care facility in East Street has brought this into sharp focus.

The development of a large facility, such as The Orchard presents, is a completely new development for the South Wairarapa. Such a development would also clearly need to look outside the immediate area to find potential purchasers. Developments such as the ones in Waikanae cater for large numbers of people perhaps in excess of 100 units.

Though this looks to be a significant development for Greytown the residents in our community will need reassuring that this as well as the other apparently planned extension of the town can be managed with the existing water and sewerage infrastructure.



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