A major new ‘healthy ageing’ precinct - which has been specifically designed to allow future residents to mix with the general community - has been approved in Perth’s booming north-west corridor.

The Western Australian Government has approved an application for a rezoning by Southern Cross Care WA for a 6.27 hectare parcel of land on the corner of Burns Beach Road and Connolly Drive in Currambine.

The development site is approximately 30km north-west of the Perth CBD, along with being 2.5km north-west of the Joondalup town centre and alongside Currambine Train Station. 

Southern Cross Care WA plans to create a health and wellness precinct for seniors including an aged care facility for up to 138 seniors, including 88 residential care beds and up to 50 age-in-place apartments. 

The ground floor of the aged care facility is expected to include a small shop, cafe, hairdresser, allied health care, physiotherapy and a gym, giving future residents access to a range of health and wellness services.

Another portion of the site will include a full-line supermarket of approximately 3,200m², as well as several specialty retail stores.  

Future development stages will include additional residential development - this could be either general residential dwellings or aged care dwellings.

A high-level masterplan for the Currambine site by Southern Cross Care WA

According to Southern Cross Care WA’s planning scheme amendment application, the project has been specifically designed to bring together aged care residents and the surrounding community.

“The local community will have the opportunity to fully use the non-residential land uses and services provided,” the application stated.

“This is a key component of the aged care model being adapted by Southern Cross Care in order to replace the current ‘gated village’ developments which have existed for many years, which have limited community integration. 

“The ‘mixing’ of residents and land uses will ensure the development contributes to a ‘lively and attractive’ place, which is integrated with the existing residents within the locality.”

According to Southern Cross Care WA’s website: “In addition to traditional residential care for the frail and those living with dementia, the aim is to deliver serviced apartments that allow couples to age in place.”

“The vision also extends to new housing options for downsizers to continue to live independently in a walkable community, delivery of in-home health and wellness services, as well as offering an onsite health precinct including medical services from GPs and allied health.”

WA Planning Minister Rita Saffioti said the project will deliver much-needed aged care beds and housing for downsizers in Perth’s growing northern suburbs.

“It is a major boost when these sorts of developments integrate with the needs of the local community and offer shared services as this one proposes to do,” Ms Saffioti said.

The rezoning proposal was supported by the City of Joondalup in late 2019.

Joondalup Deputy Mayor Russ Fishwick said: “Not only will this project deliver much needed aged care accommodation, but also, offer construction jobs in the short term and ongoing employment in the aged care sector in the long term.”

“This is potentially a great economic boost for our community – providing local jobs closer to home – and builds on our planning to maximise quality development and related services around transport hubs.”

Healthy living precincts on the rise

Across Australia, there is a strong push towards the delivery of new ‘healthy ageing-in-place’ precincts which are integrated with the surrounding community.

These precincts seek to provide the services and facilities to keep residents fit and healthy, and therefore less likely to need to move into institutional aged care.

Like the Southern Cross Care WA project above, they also do away with the notion that aged care residents should be locked away from the local community, by providing spaces where these residents and the general community can mix.

For instance, see our story on Uniting’s Westmead project in NSW (which is currently under construction) and Uniting’s Epping project (which is currently seeking planning approval).