A new 93-bed residential aged care facility in Castlemaine is one step closer to fruition, with Mount Alexander Shire Council approving the planning application.
The planned facility, to be built on Maldon Road in McKenzie Hill, will provide low and high-level care for older people.
The application was approved unanimously at the ordinary council meeting this week.
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"The data indicates that there is a growing ageing population in the shire, and council needs to be prepared for that," shire mayor Christine Henderson said.
"We need to provide for different housing types in our community, including smaller houses, shared housing and housing suitable for those unable to live independently.
"This purpose-built facility will help council in our aim to meet future demand for our ageing community within the area."
The report that went before council said Castlemaine and Mount Alexander Shire had a higher proportion of older residents than the state and national averages.
The existing residential aged care facilities in the town are at Castlemaine Health.
The new facility will have individual rooms with a bed, sitting area and en suite, although some rooms will be larger to give couples the option of living together.
Meals will be provided in communal dining areas.
There will also be several lounge rooms, activity rooms, meeting rooms, coffee shop, a theatre space, a hairdresser, an internal courtyard, and a 44-space care park.
The council approved the planning application subject to conditions that included the preparation of a bushfire plan.
Councillor Dave Petrusma said it had been a "very, very long time" that Castlemaine had been wanting an aged care facility. "There's some fairly extensive conditions for it to happen, but it's quite well-located, it's an exciting proposition actually, and I think it's going to be a good thing when it goes ahead," Cr Petrusma said.
Councillor Tony Cordy raised some concerns about the design, but supported the motion to approve it.