Strathalbyn’s aged care residents who were left stranded when the Kalimna Hostel was closed for good in 2016 are one step closer to seeing its resurgence.
Last Friday, Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade announced the commencement of a business case to determine the future of the Hostel, which was closed as it did not meet fire safety standards.
Since its closure, a working party of concerned residents have lobbied for Strathablyn to get the aged care services it needs.
Gwenda Knights, a member of the Kalimna Working Party, said the Minister’s announcement to commission a business case gave the group hope.
“We feel more confident about it all happening now but until we have it in writing that the money has been budgeted for us, we can’t be sure,” she said.
Member for Heysen Josh Teague said developing the business case was the first part of the state government’s commitment to invest $1.1 million in redeveloping Kalimna.
“The business case will analyse, in consultation with the local community, a range of redevelopment options for the site including aged accommodation or a hub for aged care services,” he said.
“One possibility is for aged accommodation to be provided at Kalimna, using a retirement village model. We don’t know whether or not enough people would be interested in such accommodation to make it viable.”
Mrs Knights said the KWP was also looking at all options, but said it was unlikely the old building would be used for aged care again, whilst it remains in its current form.
Instead, she said the 24 beds they currently have licences for would go into a new building, if the funding is granted. “We’re hoping for another 12 beds to make it 36,” she said.
Mrs Knights also attended an aged care forum in the town on Tuesday, hosted by Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie, that welcomed Federal Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt to the town.
“The forum was great… I think Kalimna is on the federal government’s radar now,” she said.