Mossman District Nursing Home share their 20 year historical journey

Published Wednesday 13 January 2016

Mayor Julia Leu has praised the collective efforts of the Mossman District Nursing Home Committee, The Salvation Army Aged Care Plus and Council to facilitate a much-needed nursing home in Mossman.

The Salvation Army Aged Care Plus last night held an information session in Mossman to update the community on the project’s progress, and to celebrate the success in achieving the first significant milestones in the delivery of the $12.6 million facility.

More than 150 enthusiastic local residents packed into the Mossman Shire Hall to hear about the designs and program.

Following Council’s decision in 2015 to transfer 15,000 square metres of land valued at $675,000 at no charge to the Salvation Army, the State Government announced in December that Council’s application for grant funding of $544,150 towards the delivery of enabling infrastructure and operational works was successful.

These works will include the development of Council’s adjacent road network, sewerage and drainage, headworks and a substation.

Mayor Leu said the realisation of a nursing home in Mossman was the ultimate reward for the Mossman District Nursing Home Committee which had dedicated thousands of hours to fundraising and lobbying over the past 20 years.

“It is also no coincidence that this project has progressed significantly since the new Douglas Shire Council was established on January 1, 2014,” Mayor Leu said.

“Council has worked tirelessly behind-the-scenes to ensure the Mossman nursing home finally gets off the ground, providing funding of $40,000 for the preparation of a robust business case and allocating $80,000 in this year’s budget for costs associated with the development of the Johnston Road site.

“This formidable partnership between Council, the Mossman District Nursing Home and The Salvation Army Aged Care Plus presented the Federal and State Governments with a worthy community project they could not ignore.

“It’s very exciting to see such an important development moving along. The development application was lodged with Council in December and The Salvation Army Aged Care Plus is anticipating early works will start on site in the near future.”

The nursing home is expected to deliver an estimated 41 construction jobs annually over two years, with an estimated 27 full-time employees once it is operational.

Immediate economic benefits will include pathways to training and employment for local school-leavers and trained indigenous staff as well as opportunities for local suppliers and significant flow-on benefits for the wider community.

It is no secret that it has taken 20 years of lobbying and fundraising by a small dedicated group of passionate community members of the Mossman District Nursing Home Inc. to get this result.  Majorie Norris shares the historical timeline and their journey since 1996.

“To best explain our dedication and persistence I have enclosed a timeline covering 20 years of hard work, tears and at times extreme frustrations,” she said.

Prior to 1996 - Dr Bob Lansky almost had success with the Government of the day, but lost out when Government changed hands. Then the Mossman Lionesses tried but without success.

16 February 1996 - Formation of a Douglas Shire Nursing Home Steering Committee with Bob Gray as Chairman.

21 February  1996 - Needs Analysis conducted, which indicated the urgent need for an aged care facility in Mossman. Joan and Bob Gray and Julia Leu conducted the survey.

1998 - Sadly we lost Bob Gray to a fatal heart attack.  Marj Norris steps up from Secretary to Chair, Mary Ramsay continues as Vice President, Shirley Vico becomes Secretary and Jim McAllister is the Treasurer.

31 August 1998 - We become Incorporated and known as the Mossman District Nursing Home Inc.

2001 - Multi-Purpose Health Service granted seven temporary aged care beds.

February 2003 - Former Douglas Shire Council 2000-2004 purchases 4.378 hectares of land on Johnston Road adjoining the then Mossman District Hospital for the purpose of implementing an aged care facility.

April 2003 - Council calls for Expressions of Interest.

December 2003 - Council calls for tenders. Vitality Care awarded contract with conditions. The main one being the 3 tiers of ageing began at the same time.

2007 - Land contract finalised and signed by Douglas Shire Council and developers.

November 2007 - Public meeting called by Vitality Care to display plans of the Aged Care Medical Campus. Very well attended with 13 of the independent land blocks applied for.

February 2008 - Global Financial Crisis descends on the economy. CEC, the building and financial entity, collapses and the project stalls for want of a financial investor.

2009 - Cairns Regional Council refuses the project partners a fourth extension of time for the contract June 2010. Generous donation of $10,000 by Walter Mullavey to the committee encourages the committee to a Feasibility Study and Business Plan.

June 2010 - MDNH Inc. calls for tenders commissioning a Feasibility Study and a Business Plan. Three reputable consultants apply, and the contract is awarded to Wiser Solutions.

September 2010 - Feasibility Study and Business Plan completed and handed to MDNH Inc.

December 2010 - Deputation to CRC’s ordinary meeting in Mossman requesting CRC freehold the Johnston Road Land to MDNH Inc.

17 May 2011 - Deputation to CRC’s Ordinary Meeting in Cairns. Joan Gray and Marj Norris attend. Council resolves to view Feasibility Study and Business Plan.

27 May 2011 - CRC’s Ordinary meeting in Mossman. More than 100 citizens lobby on MDNHI Inc’s behalf before meeting commences. Issue is closed to the public.

27 May 2011 - CRC resolves to lease the 4.378 hectares on Johnston Road to MDNH Inc for 30 years with conditions. One of the most rewarding of condition was the allocation of Kerri Hawkes Community Development Officer to “assist and advocate” for MDNH Inc and that we would not pay rates or services until the facility was operational.

Late May 2011 - Aged Care Approval Round advertised Deadline noon 2nd August 2011. MDNHInc decided they must apply for 50 beds.

8 June 2011 - Query from the CEO of The Salvation Army Australian Eastern Board, Sharon Callister, requesting an update of information regarding the project.

29 June 2011 - I fly to Brisbane for a meeting with Sharon Callister and James Underwood, the consultant who usually does The Salvation Army’s applications for care places and capital funding. The Salvation Army is interested in 1 hectare of land to build a care facility. They will apply for 42 residential beds; capital funds and Zero Real interest Loans provided MDNH Inc pay the consultancy fees. James Underwood to make the application on Salvation Army’s behalf.

1 July 2011 - Special meeting called MDNH Inc. Committee resolves to meet the costs of James Underwood’s consultancy fees.

13 July 2011 - The Salvation Army Care Plus CEO Sharon Callister, Operations Manager Luke Grieve, Financial Controller Malcom Pittenrigh, Carolyn Hale, James Underwood’s representative arrive in Mossman at 11am. Met by Joan Gray and toured the area before lunching with Shirley and Joan at my place where further discussions took place.

2pm - Salvation Army delegates, Carolyn Hale, Julia Leu, Jim Mc Allister, accountant Kevin Roe, Rose Kendall, solicitor Michael Bolt, Shirley, Joan and myself meet council delegates Kerri Hawkes and Alice Heather in council chambers at Mossman. Meeting completed by 2.45pm. All agree that MDNH Inc will apply to next CRC Ordinary Meeting on 27th July for separate leases.

27 July 2011 - CRC agrees to two separate leases. One to The Salvation Army for about 1 hectare for 30 years with conditions and the second lease to MDNH Inc for the remaining 3.48 hectares with conditions. Alice Heather emails a “Letter of Intent” on CRC’s behalf to be included in the application for beds together with CRC’s resolution. Re the separate leases. Donation of $1200 gratefully received from Raylene and Anthony D’donna, Bronwyn and Fred Caltibaino, Stephen McLean and Dough Barnes, entrants in the 2011 Mossman Show fitness competition.

29 July 2011 - Joan Gray and I meet with solicitor Michael Bolt to define the terms in the Memorandum of Understanding between The Salvation Army and MDNH Inc. Signed by both parties Monday 1st August and emailed to The Salvation Army and Carolyn Hale for inclusion in the ACAR application for beds.12pm 2nd August 2011. Applications for the 2100 Aged Care Approvals Round closes.

December 2011 - Application fails.

1 May 2012 - MDNH Inc. meets with TSA officers to reaffirm their commitment to apply for bed licences in the next ACAR round.

10 November 2012 - The Salvation Army Aged Care Plus supported by the community organisations and the people all over Mossman and in the Shire will tender a submission.

Finally in 2014 - TSA was granted 42 beds by the Department of Health And Ageing.

April 2015 - MDNH Inc presented a formal request to DSC asking for funds to assist formalise an up to date business plan.