Healthcare service provider Bupa Care Services has moved into Cambridge, starting work on a $33 million village and care home facility expected to be finished by the start of next year.
The St Kilda retirement village and care home will have 80 beds in its care home facilities and 67 semi-detached villas. It is estimated the construction project will create about 200 jobs, with about 90 fulltime positions up for grabs once it is completed.
Bupa national development manager Peter Lawrence said most of the facility's permanent jobs were expected to be skilled or semi-skilled.
"The main bulk of those jobs will be within the care home, so those jobs are ranging from caregivers, nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, maintenance and grounds staff."
He said two local companies would be responsible for the facility's construction.
Livingstone Building would provide the care home, while Rob May Builders Ltd would work on the villas.
St Kilda will be the fifth retirement village in the Waikato town, joining Lauriston Park, Raeburn, Selwyn St Andrews and Selwyn St Andrews Cambridge.
However, Lawrence said there was growing demand for retirement villages and care home services in the Waikato.
"Cambridge is one of the fastest growing rural towns in the country.
"The Waipa territorial authority is 2 per cent higher than the national average for people over 65.
"This makes it an attractive proposition for Bupa.
"We've obviously had a lot of discussions with the district health board and we like to co-locate our care with villages to provide that continuum of care," Lawrence said .
"Certainly there is a demand for what we are providing in that area."
Cambridge Grey Power Association president Noeline Jamieson agreed.
"The population is ageing . . . people are getting older and older.
"It's good for the community because there are a lot of people living in a two or three-bedroom home and it gets too much for them." Jamieson said the socialisation that came with being in a retirement village or care home was also good for people, particularly those whose spouses had died.
Earthworks on the first phase of the project are under way, with work on phase two expected to start in the next few weeks. The first villas will be available by July, with the care home ready for occupancy by January next year. All up the retirement village and care home site will cover 3.6 hectares.
Bupa, a private British healthcare company, currently operates 22 retirement villages and 55 care homes across New Zealand.
The company provides care to about 4000 New Zealanders.