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Community has its say in future of IRT Towradgi Park Retirement Village

on the Wednesday, September 25, 2019

More than 350 people have contributed feedback to IRT Group about future plans for IRT Towradgi Park Retirement Village, north of Wollongong.

In May and June, IRT sought community input on options for a staged redevelopment of the site which was built early in IRT’s 50-year history.

The process built on an earlier online IRT Design Survey that attracted more than 1,500 responses nationwide.

As part of the community consultation for IRT Towradgi Park, IRT spoke with locals at pop-up discussions; hosted focus groups with existing residents; and held meetings with representatives of local community groups.

The consultation period culminated in a half-day collaborative design workshop where participants reviewed multiple floor plan options and shared their preference for the size, configuration and optional premium features of the units.

Of those that provided feedback, 76% said they would prefer larger 2-3 bedroom villas with a study to better accommodate visiting family, hobbies and provide extra space. Almost half (48%) showed an interest in communal gardening and almost a third (30%) would pay for energy efficient lighting and solar panels. Around 95% were over the age of 65 and 72% indicated they would consider living in a retirement village.

The workshop also delved into participants’ lifestyles to gauge interest in a café, allied health services and innovative ‘age in place’ design features. Exercise classes, reading and book clubs, sewing and craft clubs, gardening and a community café proved winning ideas.

IRT Group CEO Patrick Reid thanked the local community for sharing their ideas and insights, many of which will be incorporated into the master plan.

“Overall we heard a strong desire from people wanting to be part of an active and engaged community in retirement. The insights show a strong belief in the importance of social connectivity and an active lifestyle for health and wellbeing.”

“With this collaborative approach, we’re able to capitalise on local community input and give a voice to these ideas long before the plan rises off the drawing board. Our intention is to work closely with the community to create a retirement village that supports people as they age in place by promoting their health, happiness and wellbeing,” Mr Reid said.

“We found that while most people are motivated to move into retirement living to downsize and minimise their home maintenance, they still want enough space to continue doing the things they enjoy like entertaining friends and family,” Mr Reid said.

IRT is now distilling the community insights and working through master planning with its property development team, architect and specialist consultants. A full plan, with visuals is expected to be ready to share with the local community in early-2020, followed by a Development Application to Wollongong City Council.

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