November 2009: Even though the former Stan Reilly Lodge was run by the council, the land itself is owned by the state government and was vested to council on the condition that the site be used for accomodation and a social centre for the elderly.
The buildings have been mostly vacant since 2007, and council passed a resolution requesting the state government change the vesting to allow the buildings to be temporarily rented out (until December 2012), with the Fremantle Football Club and the hospital being the likely tenants. The idea is that this will then enable a general discussion and consultation over the future permanent use of the site.
A number of residents are concerened about the loss of recreational and social facilities for the elderly in the CBD. The Stan Reilly Lodge didn't just provide accomodation, it also had a social centre. While the former residents might be housed elsewhere, the social centre was not replaced. At the same time a number of the non-profit clubs that used to be an affordable place for older people to socialise over a drink or a meal have also closed.
Councillor Haney prepared an important addition to the original resolution which I strongly support. It reads: "3. That the consultation strategy/process...must include appropriate representation of interests for the elderly, in recognition of the existing vesting of the site. 4. The City agrees in principle that in any redevelopment of the site that a portion of the site be utilized for services and/or facilities for the elderly."
Meanwhile the council's Community Development officers are doing an audit of the needs of seniors, the aged and elderly. Anyone who has ideas on how the council could better serve older residents should get in touch.