Council looks to hand off Mertome

BAYSWATER city council will look at handballing ownership of its Mertome retirement village to another operator.

At a lively and passionate special council meeting, the council voted to investigate two options:

• seek a specialist operator to manage the redevelopment program; and,

• look at transferring ownership to a professional aged care operator.

Any recommendations will include caveats to protect the interests of residents.

“There was a lively and often passionate debate about the way forward for Mertome and I certainly welcomed that,” mayor Sylvan Albert said.

“It showed that councillors were engaged and wanted to explore options that would deliver the best outcome for residents and the community.

“I think the preferred options, which include measures to protect the interest of residents, represent the best way forward.”

The meeting was held behind closed doors, but around 10 people were in the gallery for public question time.

The Winifred Road home was established in 1972 and accommodates 213 people in 200 units. It was the first of its kind to be constructed by a council and pioneered WA councils’ involvement in aged care.

Many councils are now getting out of the sector, labelling the assets financial white elephants that are a drain on resources. With tired facilities and pressing demand, the council is considering an expensive redevelopment.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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