THERE has been for some time considerable discussion about the possible redevelopment of the existing library site or the alternative development of a new integrated service centre in conjunction with the Visitor Information Centre.
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It appears that this will be ongoing, as at the moment we have facts and logic overshadowed by emotion. This is not a formula for a speedy resolution.
This is a shame as it is drawing attention away from other important community issues such as the future needs of our increasingly ageing population. The mayor has stated that we need to be planning for the future - and I am sure we all agree.
We, like all communities, need to identify our major and most important issues, separating the "must haves" from the "like to haves".
The NSW Government population projections indicate that from 2016 to 2042, the Oberon population will increase from 5350 to 5400.
The number of greatest concern is the change in the demographic age groupings which are indicated to be as follows: 2016, 0 to 14-year-olds, 950, 2042, 850 (-100); 2016, 15 to 29-year-olds, 1000, 2042, 750 (-250); 2016, 30 to 34-year-olds, 800, 2042, 800 (000); 2016, 45 to 59-year-olds, 1100, 2042, 1000 (-100); 2016, 60 to 74-year-olds, 1150, 2042, 1150 (000); 2016, 75 plus, 400, 2042. 850 (+450).
These figures appear to suggest that the focus on providing facilities for the younger demographic groups needs to be redirected or include providing facilities for the elderly.
The community have a very good platform from which to implement any future action with the number of independent living accommodation being constructed over the years by council. There is also an existing aged care facility, multi purpose centre, medical centre and other associated medical services.
I suggest that as a community we need to seriously start looking at the projected requirements of the elderly. This would include discussions with local experts and local groups (because locals understand local requirements).
The following are some things that are suggested as needing consideration along with mental stimulus and entertainment for the elderly. Those with greater understanding than myself may wish to change or add more.
Rumour has it that current assistance for the elderly, which is carried out by various groups at times, is difficult to obtain for various reasons, ranging from lack of funding to insufficient trained staff. Whatever, if the projected statistics are correct, this can only become worse. Quantification of the problem and, if necessary, a plan needs to be developed.
Reclassification of land to allow over 50 independent housing to be developed. With the dramatic increase in aged people, the number of secure complexes for the over 55 age group have exploded throughout Australia. These facilities usually provide community activity buildings and sports facilities. Independent houses are purchased by the people who wish to live there. All ground and facility maintenance is provided out of the monthly fee. At present, I do not believe there is land available with the zoning required to allow this type of development. It would appear that this is an area that council could provide valuable assistance by identifying potential areas.
Adequate respite facilities. I understand that in the caring and respite process there are times that the person providing and being cared for need a break. I understand that the carer needs to be able to maintain some form of a normal life. I am aware others are also concerned and it is proposed to have a discussion in the near future to which all are welcome. Please think about coming when it occurs.
A notice of meeting will be placed in the Oberon Review once the requirements of COVID allow.
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