17/11/2020 - 15:08

Oryx unveils revised plans

17/11/2020 - 15:08

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Oryx Communities has submitted revised plans for its aged care project in Nedlands, after community backlash led the group to pursue the State Development Assessment Unit.

The proposed Melvista aged care home, fronting Betty Street. Image: Oryx Communities

Oryx Communities has submitted revised plans for its aged care project in Nedlands, after community backlash led the group to pursue the State Development Assessment Unit. 

Those plans are now open for public consultation until December 10.

The SDAU was established as part of the state government’s COVID-19-related stimulus measures, as a means to streamline development approvals for those developments deemed ‘significant’, generally those projects valued at $20 million or more that had the added potential of boosting jobs.

Development applications submitted to the SDAU are directly assessed by the Western Australian Planning Commission.

Oryx said it submitted its Nedlands proposal in August, with plans since circling through a series of what it said was stringent design reviews.

The group’s original plans were blocked by the City of Nedlands earlier this year and Oryx said it had chosen the SDAU pathway after the Nedlands council had voted retrospectively to amend the existing Local Planning Policy.

Oryx proposed a four-storey residential aged care facility, featuring up to 90 beds, to be developed across four lots (comprising a total 2,980 square metres) at 73 and 75 Doonan Road, and at 16 and 18 Betty Street. 

The council’s move also followed a residents’ petition to stop the development, which claims Oryx had “not engaged with any of the direct neighbours or the wider community in the past five years about their plans”, not since it had “proposed a new two-storey building … something we all welcomed.” 

Oryx said it had made a series of enhancements to the design in response to advice by the State Design Review Panel and had subsequently provided 10 supportive ratings for each of the 10 key design principles, which it said was the highest assessment rating available.

Oryx director James Turnbull said the company had engaged collaboratively with the design review and assessment process for the project. 

“As a result, we have implemented a number of changes to our initial design to capitalise on the expert recommendations,” he said.

“To facilitate the absolute best practice in design and built form, we have modified our proposed home to accommodate a reduced number of 80 aged care suites. 

“Reducing the number of suites has enabled us to increase the size of each suite to be some of the largest suites in Australia. The internal communal spaces also enjoy better connectivity to the external environment.”

The revised plans detail design changes such as improvements to the bulk and scale of the project, with the building remaining at four storeys, which includes an underground basement.

Oryx said the inclusion of a deep planted setback to the centre of the north of the building would reduce the length and bulk of the façade, as well as the potential overlooking of neighbouring yards.

The fourth storey, it noted, was significantly set back from the street.

The retaining wall design has also been modified to enable the preservation of mature trees, with revised planting to provide a visual screen to northern neighbours.

An extra two car bays have been added (30 car bays in total) despite the number of suites being reduced, additionally catering to a delivery bay and an ambulance set-down area.

Two more communal terraces have been incorporated into the design development of open space, and the main entry has been relocated to facilitate easier pedestrian access to the building, with vehicle access to basement parking and services off Betty Street.

Mr Turnbull said the project’s architectural design aligned with the latest recommendations from Counsel Assisting the Aged Care Royal Commission.

“All Oryx homes, such as the proposed Melvista home, incorporate a small household model of care, which is recognised as best practice in the aged care sector,” he said.

“This model is supported by expert architecturally designed spaces comprising a small number of bedrooms placed around a central kitchen, living and dining area, in the same way that a kitchen is the heart of every home.

“Our aged care homes are designed with between seven and 10 small households co-located on the same site.”

The Oryx WA portfolio includes the 92-bed Richardson Aged Care, which it developed and continues to operate in West Perth.

The group is completing the construction of an Intergenerational Precinct at DevelopmentWA’s Claremont on the Park, and expects the 120-bed residential aged care facilities and 30 plus serviced apartments for seniors to be operational in early 2021.

Oryx said its Melvista aged care project would be the only care home in Nedlands located south of Stirling Highway and that it would service a clear need for the suburb; the local government area has a higher than average (19.7 per cent) proportion of population over 65 compared to the Australian average of 14 per cent, it said.

The project is one of three development applications publicly known to have been processed through the new SDAU; a $50 million LNG plant was recently approved by the SDAU; and a $40 million residential project at 8 Parker Street in South Perth is also now open for public comment.

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