RYMAN Healthcare will submit a new planning permit application to Mornington Peninsula Shire Council for a retirement village and aged care facility at Mount Eliza.
The new application will come just weeks after a knock-back from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a much larger development.
The New Zealand-based company contends VCAT “supported the use of the Kunyung Road site for that purpose” in its refusal and has resubmitted a smaller proposal with 13 fewer assisted living units and 77 fewer apartments. The number of care beds remains at 82.
The development is expected to cost $85 million.
In its 82-page determination released on Friday 2 July, VCAT confirmed Mornington Peninsula Shire Council’s permit refusal and long-standing opposition to the project saying: “… the decision of the responsible authority is affirmed” and that the Ryman permit application would not be granted.
“We accept that the proposal for a modern, integrated aged care and retirement facility would have the capacity to meet the future needs and expectations of an ageing population,” the VCAT decision stated.
“[However] this is not a preferred location for aged care, neither is there strong evidence of unmet localised demand.”
But Ryman contends the VCAT ruling “supported the use of the 8.9ha site for retirement living and aged care, pointing to the clear community benefit [the] proposal would provide”.
“The tribunal declined to issue a permit, citing concerns about the scale of some components of the proposed village, but gave clear guidance on what would be an appropriate outcome for the site,” the company said.
Ryman’s development manager David Laing said the “new permit application … responds directly to VCAT’s guidance”.
“We were really pleased the independent umpire ruled that retirement living and aged care is a suitable use for the site, and how much the community would benefit from having a Ryman village there,” Mr Laing told The News.
“The recommendations VCAT has given have been incredibly helpful, so we’ve been able to take those on board and submit a new permit application that responds directly to it.”
Ryman recently appealed to the Supreme Court to review how a point of planning law was interpreted by VCAT, but Mr Laing said this would “have no bearing on how the new permit application will be considered”.
“We obviously have a long-term interest in this site so just want to make sure that the correct policy and planning framework is applied to it, now and into the future,” he said.
Former Mornington Peninsula Shire councillor Leigh Eustace, who contested the VCAT review, said the word “suitable” in the Ryman statement was “misleading”.
“The tribunal said, ‘The use [retirement village and aged care in association with a place of worship] was permissible under current zoning’, but was very clear in its assessment that this site was not a preferred location and neither was there strong evidence of unmet localised demand,” he said.
“The tribunal was clear … that the site was not in a preferred location, was outside the urban growth boundary, does not satisfy non-urban development planning and settlement policies, would impact on the inter-urban green break between Mount Eliza and Mornington, and would have a detrimental impact on the heritage, coastal, landscape and environmental aspects of the site.”