Stage 1 occupancy permit marks a special community milestone

Photo Caption: Several stakeholders came together prior to the current COVID-19 facility lockdown, and general community restrictions, to tour the new building and celebrate the imminent occupancy permit, which arrived yesterday.   

The Edgarley Assisting Living community in Casterton is celebrating after receiving the all-important occupancy permit for stage one of the organisation’s $16 million redevelopment.

Chief executive officer Susan Wray received the permit yesterday and said she was confident the first residents would sleep in their new rooms by mid-February.

A number of Board members, senior staff, life members and ladies auxiliary representatives (pictured) came together late last year to mark the pending milestone and for an informal tour of the new three storey building, which forms the first half of the project.

Community members will have the opportunity to take a virtual look for themselves in the next few weeks when video tours are produced. A planned open day this weekend had to be shelved due to the current COVID-19 situation across Victoria.

Board Chair Alan Elijah said the project was made possible by $14.5 million in funding from the Federal Government, the support from local member Dan Tehan and the hard work, determination and commitment of the Edgarley team over the past seven years.

“People have been working on this project for such a long time…right back to former CEO Steve Toope and our previous attempts to fund the project,” he said.

“It’s wonderful to now be celebrating this first occupancy milestone. So many people should be proud of this moment in our history and the wonderful new facilities our residents will now enjoy.”

Mother of three and financial officer Olivia Darcy said the redevelopment project felt like her fourth child and she was excited and emotional when the permit arrived yesterday.

“Along with our director of nursing Amanda Lee and Alan Elijah, who was then the head of our finance committee, I’ve been working on this since the very start. So many other staff and board members, who are no longer involved, put a lot of energy in also,” she said.

“When I started writing the first grant application, my second child Charlie was just a baby in my arms and now we’re ready for residents to move in and he’s eight years old.

“It’s a bit emotional for some of us – we’ve just had so much of ourselves tied up in this project for so long that it’s just such an amazing feeling to be where we are today.”

Mrs Wray said her one year anniversary as chief executive officer had just rolled over last month and she was immensely proud of everyone involved in the project.

“Obviously COVID-19 has added even more complexities to an already massive undertaking and with that has come some delays, frustrations and uncertainty, but everyone kept pushing forward and it’s just a relief that we’re about to open,” she said.

“Building here, in a rural setting, this is huge for the area – it’s huge for the region and we think it will be the shining light for the community. It is brand new, it’s modern, it has all the latest technology and there’s an extra special feeling that this is an asset for Casterton.

“The transition is going to be another big challenge. We have to move residents across in a staged way and we have to staff this new facility, but also the existing facility because there are still residents in there.”

Mrs Wray said once the new building was occupied, demolition of some existing buildings would begin in preparation for the other half of the new building to be constructed.

She said the biggest challenge now was filling several job vacancies across the organisation.

“We’re still in need of some personal carers, we would like to have at least another two registered nurses here, we need kitchen staff and we need domestic staff,” she said.

More information about job opportunities at Edgarley Assisted Living, including the Position Descriptions, are available at www.edgarley.com.au

 

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