OLD GOLD: Million-dollar resort keeps seniors close to home
AN EXPLOSION of high-end retirement "resorts" and aged care facilities are sweeping through the Southern Downs, bringing with them a demand for new services and employment opportunities.
A state-of-the-art over-50s village on Torrisi Tce in Stanthorpe is the latest in a string of new developments that will service an ageing population looking to spend their final chapter in the Southern Downs.
It will boast 90 new self-contained houses, a cinema, heated pool, yoga room and men's shed.
The facility aims to give ageing locals the option to stay in their hometown while others move from cities like Brisbane to retire in the countryside.
Having spent her childhood in Stanthorpe, JVY Group national sales manager Dianne Fielding was confident it was the right place to launch a conglomerate of new lifestyle resorts for people aged older than 50.
"We were looking for places to develop and after speaking to a lot of the locals and family we realised there was great need there," Mrs Fielding said.
Her mother, Daphne Cook, is 87 and still lives in Stanthorpe but has watched friends move away from the region because of a current lack of services.
"I think that demographic is expanding and they are wanting to stay in their own town," she said.
Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie said the retirement and aged care sector boom would create a demand for new jobs and services.
"This is another great investment in our region indicating we are a great place to live," Cr Dobie said.
With a $10 million expansion of Killarney Memorial Aged Care in progress and the recent opening of the new Churches of Christ facility in Warwick, retirement services are becoming a keystone of the regional economy.
But enticing professionals to fill jobs may present a challenge.
The Physiotherapy Centre owner Josh Hay has struggled to recruit qualified physiotherapists to meet the current demand for services.
He said business owners and the council had to be on the front foot in marketing the region to young professionals.
"Having these new developments carries with it the imperative to actively promote our region to young professionals because we are going to have to be able to recruit new staff," he said.
Mr Hay has been liaising with universities to encourage graduates to establish their careers in the Southern Downs.
Mayor Dobie said the council's economic development team had also invested in marketing the region to young and older generations through promotional videos.
"As demand increases and the services expand it is encouraging people to come here and take up those jobs and that is a challenge but it is something we are working on," she said.