NEW ROLE: The Metro Hotel Ipswich International will undergo alterations in design and layout for aged-care facility.
NEW ROLE: The Metro Hotel Ipswich International will undergo alterations in design and layout for aged-care facility. Rob Williams

High-rise care for elderly in heart of Ipswich CBD

IPSWICH is about to get another residential aged-care facility and this time it will be right in the middle of the Ipswich CBD. According to media articles the Metro International Hotel Ipswich is to be redeveloped into a residential aged-care high-rise facility by a company called Oracle Care.

The Queensland-based company is apparently a new operator in this market and is currently developing other facilities, three in Goodna, two others in Queensland and one in Western Australia, according to the Weekly Source.

The Queensland Times, Monday, May 7, in an article outlined the facility would "provide single ensuite rooms and double suites for couples". The article commented further that the "existing building facade is to be retained but the hotel will undergo alterations to the existing layout and design". Oracle will keep the ground-floor function rooms and dining areas for residents and the community alike.

Oracle Care was only incorporated in 2015 and the business is registered as an Australian Proprietary Company, limited by shares. This seems like a very large undertaking by such a young company and it makes me wonder just who is backing it.

Council of the Ageing Queensland, the sector's peak body, has welcomed the proposed redevelopment as an efficient way to bring beds on-stream much earlier than building from scratch.

The question is, what is the cost to the short-term accommodation availability in this city. Ipswich does not have that much short-term accommodation as it is, especially when there are major events held in and around the city. So by reducing the accommodation rates by this redevelopment lessens that available space to cater for tourists and other visitors to our city.

The Metro International Hotel Ipswich is ideally located behind the Ipswich Civic Centre and caters to, or it did, patrons attending the many shows staged there. Many of the shows staged at the Civic Centre are very popular and much cheaper to attend than travelling to Brisbane. In fact many patrons to these shows come from other places and stay at the hotel behind the civic centre for the night.

According to Oracle, this redevelopment will create more than 200 jobs and if that is the case great. But realistically these types of developments start with this type of rhetoric which eventuates in much less than first anticipated. But what about the jobs that will be lost from the hospitality industry? What about the jobs lost by the cleaners and house attendants currently employed by the hotel? Is this development really only replacing jobs from one sector to another?

So, will hundreds of jobs be created or will they just be one industry replacing another. Will there be any benefit for Ipswich jobs? I really do not think so. I believe that discussion about jobs is just a smoke screen by another developer seeking to rip money out of this community as we have seen so many times before.

We, the community, need to stand up and let the elected and bureaucrats of council know that it is no longer accepted that they continue to rip the guts out of the CBD. And that is what this approval for this redevelopment is doing. It is not good enough to continue to blame another level of government. Our council needs to take responsibility for its own actions.



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