The first step towards building a $15 million retirement village at Bupa’s Gore Windsor Park Care Home site was taken yesterday with the blessing of the land by Hokonui Rūnanga kaumātua Taare Bradshaw.

After the blessing the first sod was turned by Mr Bradshaw, rest home manager Michelle Christensen and rest home resident Gordon Wright. Mrs Christensen said Bupa was planning to build 51 villas northeast of the existing rest home.

“That comprises of 12 single bed villas, 22 two bedroom villas and 17 two bed and study villas and a community centre and a bloke shed” Mrs Christensen said. Gore has an ageing population and the new village would give people more choice about where to live when they retired.

“I think it is going to be great for Gore,” Mrs Christensen said.

A feature of the plan was the amount of green space around the village and planners seemed to have understood the type of residents the village would attract, Mrs Christensen said.

The planners understand they are attracting retired farmers – space is a premium for people because they want to still have a view of the Hokonui range and have that sense of spaciousness. Access to the village would be via Reaby Rd. The village will be built in three stages.

“If stage one sells well they will just continue to stage two and stage three.” The materials used for the build would be linear board and brick with long-run iron on the roof.

The villas will comply with Lifemark accreditation, which means the facilities had to be user-friendly for people in wheelchairs.

Contractors for the build have not been appointed yet but building will start as soon as resource consent from the Gore District Council has been obtained.

Southland Bupa village saleswoman Florence Coats said she had received between 30 and 40 enquiries about the village.

“We are thrilled with the enquiries so far, even though we haven’t done any marketing.” Once resource consent had been granted she would start offering the villas for sale, she said. Story written by Sandy Eggleston, The Ensign Gore.

From left, Gordon Wright, Hokonui Rūnanga kaumātua, Taare Bradshaw and Michelle Christensen.

From left, Gordon Wright, Hokonui Rūnanga kaumātua, Taare Bradshaw and Michelle Christensen.