Web_ccarinyaA $1.8 MILLION independent living unit development was officially unveiled at Korumburra’s Carinya Lodge yesterday. The newly opened Farrell Drive adjacent to Carinya Lodge boasts six brand new independent living units, with three more on the way. Yesterday, locals were given the chance to view the tailor-made units aimed at over 55s looking to downsize.

The project, which will eventually include 27 new units, has been a long term vision of the volunteer committee of management, with the idea first canvassed almost 25 years ago. “The land which sits behind the existing lodge was bought off a man named Mr Farrell 25 years ago,” Carinya Lodge Homes secretary Clyde Paterson said. “He sold the land for a very reasonable rate and he was very good to us.
“It has taken all this time to raise the money and get the permits passed through the council.” It took the committee three years to get the land rezoned by the South Gippsland Shire, and then another two years for the completion of their application for planning permits. Since then, the past 12 months has seen the project go full steam ahead with construction work, sewerage and drainage all completed to accommodate the 27 units. “At this stage we have the six that are completed and another three are under construction and we hope to see them completed by Christmas,” Mr Paterson said.

Impressively, the project has been completely funded by the not-for profit organisation with no bank loans or government grants. “We have used all our own resources,” Mr Paterson said. “There have been no loans or donations from the government. “We have received donations from members of the community and we have raised the rest ourselves.” The units are in high demand, and the first six have already been snapped up by Korumburra locals who received the keys to their new homes yesterday. “We have a long list of people wanting to go in,” Mr Paterson said. “The committee had to hold a ballot system from a short list to decide on the first six residents.” Those looking to make the move into the luxurious new units are required to make a $75,000 contribution to Carinya. They then pay fortnightly rent of $126. “Unlike buying a unit up the street, the residents don’t own the title,” Mr Paterson said. “And if they leave, they do not get the $75,000 back. That ends up as a donation to Carinya.”

The benefits include no responsibly for rates and all garden and maintenance is taken care of. “It is the same system that we use with our existing independent living units,” Mr Paterson said. “It seems to be a proven operation that’s happened for the past 35 years here quite successfully.” Mr Paterson said the units are also appealing for those looking to downsize from their larger homes to something more manageable. “For some tenants, they are able to sell their big homes, pay the $75,000 contribution here and free up some cash and maybe take a holiday,” he said. The units are specifically built for the elderly with easy access, wide doorways and bathroom facilities. By Christmas Mr Paterson hopes the remaining three units will be completed bringing the total number of independent living units to 38 plus the 43-bed existing facility. “Carinya is becoming is becoming a small retirement village which is the direction we decided to take rather than add rooms to the hostel,” he said.