Work begins on Ballarat Village units

CATE BROUGHTON
Last updated 16:38 07/03/2013

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Work has started on a 47-unit retirement village on West Belt, Rangiora, despite an adjoining rest home project by the same company still awaiting consent.

Bupa Care Services says the $15 million Ballarat Retirement Village development will be finished by the end of the year, with sales to begin mid-year.

The company publicly notified an application for resource consent for an adjoining 80-bed rest home two weeks ago. 

Earthworks have begun on the retirement village site. 

A Bupa Care Services spokeswoman said the one- and two-bedroom villas in the village would feature modern kitchens with the latest appliances and open-plan lounge and dining areas.

Residents will have use of a community centre for a range of organised activities, such as movie nights.

One of seven nearby residents who will be affected by Bupa Care Services' proposed rest home development has questioned the transparency of the consultation process. 

The Ascot Place resident, who did not want to be named, said the start of earthworks on the site demonstrated the company had already been given the go-ahead by the council for the second part of the project - the 80-bed rest home. 

"I can't see any sensible business starting to spend significant amounts of money without confidence consents have already been approved." 

He said he was not against the project but he objected to the process. 

"I just think sending the paperwork out on the same day they start work is contemptuous." 

Bupa Care Services spokeswoman Lisa Chambers said it was not correct works had begun on the rest home before having consents approved. 

"Currently, because the council is still completing development of Ballarat Rd [a new road on the village site side] the only access to the village site is from West Belt Rd through the proposed care home site, " she said.

"All traffic involved in the retirement village development have to access the site by crossing the care home land [which is why neighbours will be able to see traffic coming and going]. It may look from the outside there is work taking place on the care home site but this is absolutely not the case." 

Ms Chambers declined to comment on whether the company would proceed with the village development if the rest home application was denied. 

Waimakariri District Council planning manager Victoria Caseley said council staff had given Bupa no indication whether consent would be granted, or whether the application would be managed by a delegated authority or go to a hearing. She said staff would not prepare a report on the application until after submissions closed on March 15.

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