More than 40 residents of the St Basil's aged care home in Annandale will be forced to relocate after management decided to permanently shut the centre's doors. The decision follows two previous attempts to knock down the centre for a residential development and has raised questions about the area's aged-care bed stock.
James Jordan, Chairman of St Basil's NSW/ACT said the reason for the closure - announced earlier this month - is that the Johnston Street building, which was built in the 1970s, is "no longer fit for purpose".
"Our aim, vision and mission is to always provide quality care for our residents and staff in a safe living environment," he said. "Our priority now is to ensure the wellbeing and care of our residents is maintained to the highest possible standard while we look at opportunities to rehouse them within our other facilities or other local aged care providers."
The centre will close its doors on September 21 and Mr Jordan said the St Basil's team will be "working closely" with the home's residents and their families as well as relevant authorities to "ensure this transition is as smooth as possible for them". However, some locals have concerns about the stress relocation will put on the residents.
"This is going to be a significant issue for some of our older neighbours," said Dominic Steele, senior minister of Village Church in Annandale. "[An] old man who is a member of our church was distraught at the prospect of his home being taken away."
In 2014, St Basil's - a registered charity under the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia - sought to demolish the home, then known as Sister Dorothea Village, and replace it with 42 dwellings. The former-Leichhardt Council rejected their development application citing - among other concerns - the loss of 83 critical aged care places in the inner west and the impact of relocation on vulnerable residents. A second attempt to demolish the building for a 32-dwelling development was made in 2015 and also rejected.
Asked what they have planned for the building after the facility's closure, Spiro Stavis, Chief Executive Officer of St Basil's NSW/ACT said: "the current building is nearing end of life. At this stage we do not have any plans in place."
According to federal government data, there has been a decline in the number of aged care beds available in the Inner West Aged Care Planning Region, which includes the Inner West Council area as well as the City of Canada Bay, Burwood Council and Strathfield Council areas. In 2017, there were 91.8 places in residential aged care per 1,000 residents over the age of 70 across the inner west compared to 82.3 in 2020.
Last year, the Uniting Church completed their $17-million transformation of a disused aged care home on Norton Street in Leichhardt into a new six-storey "self care" retirement village.
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