23 July 2021

Yallambee Lodge and Snowy River Hostel land reclassified as operational

| Lottie Twyford
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brick wall with Yallambee Lodge written on it

At the July Council meeting held in Cooma, Snowy Monaro Regional Council Councillors voted to reclassify the land on which Yallambee Lodge and Snowy River Hostel aged care facilities sit in Cooma and Berridale. Photo: Snowy Monaro Regional Council.

Snowy Monaro Regional Council has voted to reclassify pieces of land in both Cooma and Berridale on which Yallambee Lodge and the Snowy River Hostel aged care facilities sit.

The reclassifying process is necessary for Council to transition the ownership of its aged care facilities to a new specialist provider because the land must be re-classified from community to operational.

In a statement following the July Council meeting held in Cooma, the Council confirmed that despite the transition, jobs and services will continue in the area, as well as the creation of a new aged care facility in Jindabyne.

All land owned by Council must be classified as either community or operational and land can be re-classified either through amendment of the Local Environmental Plan (LEP) or by resolution of council in limited circumstances.

In this instance, Council is seeking to amend the LEP through a Planning Proposal.

At the May Council meeting, Council voted to begin a market-sounding process to allow for this transition.

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Providers expressing interest had been obliged to comply with strict criteria including a demonstrated track record in delivering quality care, a commitment to retaining existing staff, alignment with council and community values and a capacity to invest in additional care facilities in the region by developing a new facility to service Jindabyne.

One of the applicants in the EOI phase has progressed to the next stage after addressing the required criteria.

They will now go to the proposal stage which is due by early September.

In a statement issued by Council, it was noted that if this provider is deemed to be suitable, transfer to the new operator could occur later this year.

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Council CEO Peter Bascomb said any change of operator would include strong safeguards for employees and residents.

Council has engaged advisory firm Ernst & Young to conduct the divestment process.

Snowy Monaro Regional Council announced it was preparing the facilities for transition to a new provider in December 2020 in a move that caused some frustration in the community.

In December, Council stated it would use a Federal Department of Health grant to explore the transition to a new provider for the facilities in Cooma and Berridale, after stating they were operating at a $2.132 million deficit caused by increased regulation since 2019.

At the time, it was noted that there was a strong sense of history and community involved in the building and fitting out of both facilities, including fundraising, bequests and community contributions to Yallambee Lodge and Snowy River Hostel, and that a transparent process was required which would include community engagement sessions.

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