Tumbella Drive residents oppose $22m nursing home plan

More than two dozen locals are dead set opposed to RSL Care SA's proposed Romani Residential Aged Care Facility. Here's why.

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Tumbella Drive residents worry that a planned $22 million aged care facility will make life unbearable along their street.

More than two dozen residents of the Murray Bridge back street have reportedly objected to RSL Care SA’s plan to build a nursing home on a vacant block behind the Waterford Estate retirement village.

Their complaints mostly centre on the effect the development would have on car parking in the street, which features an S-bend near the proposed.

It is already hard enough for caravanners, rubbish trucks or ambulances to get down the street, the half-dozen residents who spoke with Murray Bridge News said.

Adding dozens of parked cars belonging to RSL Care staff would make Tumbella Drive nigh impassable, they said – and demonstrated their point by lining their cars up on either side of the road.

It was a squeeze for a single car to get past.

The number of on-site car parks at the Romani Residential Aged Care Facility would be too few, local resident and ex-councillor Phil Nutt said.

“With 72 beds, at Christmas, Easter, Fathers’ Day and Mothers’ Day, 28 car parks is going to be nowhere near enough,” he said.

“They're going to clog up the local streets all around it.”

Even if more on-site parking were included, the project should not go ahead, resident Jo Harris said.

She and her neighbours agreed there was need for an extra aged care facility in Murray Bridge – just not on Tumbella Drive.

“There’s no solution that would work with such narrow streets,” she said.

“There's no reason it has to go (here) other than they own the land.

“For their convenience they’re going to be causing a large number of us inconvenience.”

In response to the residents’ concerns, chief executive officer Nathan Klinge said RSL Care SA would actually be providing more car parks than required by law.

“There is legislation in place requiring aged care homes to provide one car park for every four residential care beds,” he said.

“Romani is a 72-bed facility, meaning we require 18 car parks to meet the need, however we have actually allocated 28.

“The number of spare car parks is actually very generous for a facility of this size ... it provides more on-site visitors’ parking than we have at our much larger 95-bed facility in Adelaide.”

Even at the busiest time of day, only 23 staff would be on site, Mr Klinge said; and that was during a shift changeover at 8am, before visiting hours began.

He disputed an allegation by Mr Nutt that a traffic management study included in RSL Care SA’s development application had contained incorrect road measurements.

He also promised a public meeting would be held for “all relevant stakeholders” once a builder was appointed.

“If there is a request from the community or council for us to hold another meeting in the interim, we will be very happy to do so; however, for now we remain in the hands of council,” he said.

The development has not yet been approved by the Murray Bridge council assessment panel.

Residents are due to be given a hearing at a meeting to be held next month at the earliest.

When councillors met last week, Mayor Brenton Lewis was surprised to learn that so many residents had objected to the development.

Still, he said, that was their democratic right.

If anyone representing a group of residents wanted to make their feelings known to the council and its staff, he said, “we’ll definitely be listening to them”.

Photo of Glanniss and Wes Taylor, Reg Biar, Jo Harris, Phil Nutt and Helen Johnston: Peri Strathearn. Image: RSL Care SA. Photo of Helen Johnston and Phil Nutt: Jo Harris.