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Rotorua Council support for Whare Aroha CARE relocation

7 March 2014

Council support for Whare Aroha CARE relocation

An under-utilised carpark area at the Aquatic Centre is to be offered to the Rotorua Continuing Care Trust for the relocation of Whare Aroha CARE home and hospital.

The trust has to vacate its current 78-bed facility in Hinemaru Street, near the lakefront, by May 2016 to make way for developments planned by the landowner, Pukeroa Oruawhata Holdings Limited.

At last night’s [6 Feb] full Rotorua District Council meeting councillors agreed in principle to the proposed relocation of Whare Aroha CARE to the current southern carpark area of the Aquatic Centre, dependent on continued positive consultation with the public and iwi. The carpark area is generally under-used.

The decision aligns with Council’s Rotorua 2030 vision and goals, which includes key strategies for creative communities and inner city revitalisation. It also fits well with its master plan for revitalisation and development of the Kuirau Park area, and would provide a link with Parksyde, Rotorua’s community centre for senior citizens.

The council has been working with the Rotorua Continuing Care Trust to help find a new location for the home and hospital. The trust plans to build a state-of-the-art facility for up to 200 residents, based on an acclaimed Dutch model which would be the first of its kind in New Zealand.

Councillor Mark Gould, spokesperson for the older persons’ strand of the council’s Rotorua 2030 People Strategy believed it to be an exciting and important opportunity for Rotorua that council supported.

“Whare Aroha CARE is a community centre which requires a modern pleasant building and with the increasing of the 55 plus population, these services will be much needed for Rotorua residents in the future,” he said.

“The area around Kuirau Park is ideal with plenty of green and open space for guests and their families to enjoy the environment, while creating more activity in this central but under-utilised area close to the CBD.”
Council had previously supported relocating the facility to the Rawhiti pensioner housing complex in Glenholme. However, further investigation found that would not provide enough space.

Following last night’s approval in principle, the proposed relocation will now be included in the 2014/15 draft Annual Plan for public consultation purposes.

The proposal would involve no cost to the council. The Rotorua Continuing Care Trust would be responsible for the cost of creating replacement car parking at the Aquatic Centre. Council staff have suggested that should be located towards the centre of Kuirau Park, providing centralised parking for all park users and fitting with plans for the Aquatic Centre to open out onto the park in the future.

A review of council reserves and land concluded the Kuirau Park site was the only one large enough for Whare Aroha CARE and offered the most value for the community.

The proposed relocation is seen as an opportunity to use the council reserve to its maximum potential as well as providing a valuable service for the community given the ageing population, and ensuring Whare Aroha CARE remains close to the inner city.

Subject to discussions with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council the facility may also have access to geothermal energy for heating.

ENDS

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