I am writing in response to Pauline McGregor’s letter ‘Kirrak residents deserve better’, Sentinel-Times, December 12: I hope I am able to address the concerns raised about the Garden Refurbishment Project at Kirrak House.
Firstly, I would like to thank Pauline and other residents and relatives for their contribution to a number of improvement initiatives at Kirrak House.
The Kirrak residents benefit greatly as a result of input from relatives and a number of excellent initiatives have been undertaken to improve care.
In relation to the Kirrak Garden funds, I understand that Pauline might have been involved in some of the discussions.
To make sure everyone is aware, BCH was successful at obtaining $260,216 worth of funding for the garden which was announced on May 10, 2016 after we submitted a request for funding.
In collaboration with staff and residents, and after extensive consultation, plans were designed and submitted for tender, with the aim of having the project completed prior to summer.
The tender process was required given the significant amount of money involved and these processes do take some time.
Unfortunately every quote came back above the approved amount of funding, so the plans had to be redesigned and requoted to bring the scope of works back within budget.
Finding a local contractor also contributed to some delay however we were delighted to secure the local services of Island Landscaping for the project.
Island Landscaping were able to commence works in early December, however they were not available during the Christmas and New Year period.
As such, given that the grounds of Kirrak House would have needed to be barricaded off for safety reasons, we decided to postpone the start of the works to January 11 to enable the residents and their families the use of the grounds over the Christmas and New Year period.
Any significant changes to the garden areas have been halted in the interim as these areas will be replaced by the new garden.
Having said that, the Kirrak House grounds have been maintained to meet the safety requirements for our staff, residents and their families.
One of the two rotundas on the site that has been used for equipment storage will be cleared out in time for the unveiling of the new garden.
Our residents have enjoyed the use of the other rotunda during this time.
When completed at the end of March 2018, the new gardens are sure to be a source of tranquillity and beauty for our residents.
Among the many features will be wheelchair friendly paths spanning the site, a viewing deck to watch the horses in the adjacent block, a sensory garden, water features, a beach themed area, and spaces for quiet contemplation.
Our more active residents will be able to enjoy raised garden beds, a separate vegetable garden, interactive letterboxes, a clothes line and a chicken coop.
We will be very excited to showcase this important project for our residents once it is completed and we look forward to them enjoying everything the new garden will offer.
The operating surplus that Bass Coast Health recorded for 2016/17 is totally separate from the funding received for the refurbishment project.
Bass Coast Health benefited financially as a result of significant support from the Department of Health and Human Services last year.
We received additional funding for treating more patients (mostly through our Emergency Department and our sub-acute services).
We received a significant amount of money ($4,302,000) for infrastructure and capital works that have commenced in other parts of the health service (such as the Phillip Island Hub, the Theatre air handling units; the new water filtration system and the installation of fire sprinklers).
Finally, we also received sustainability funding to assist us in repaying government loans.
These dollars contributed to our very healthy financial results, and will hold us in good stead to continue to grow our funding to grow our services, and to make sure we have a strong focus on financial sustainability.
Jan Child, CEO, Bass Coast Health.