ROADS, rates and rubbish are the traditional remits of council, but that hasn’t stopped the Greater Shepparton City Council voting to start a process of acquiring a Murchison aged care facility.
After a robust discussion at last week’s March Council Meeting, council voted 7-2 in favour of lodging an Expression of Interest to purchase the Murchison Aged Care Facility prior to the cut-off date of April 1.
The facility, which once traded as DP Jones Nursing Home, closed in early 2019 following financial hardship and liquidators are managing the sale. Council is a potential buyer.
However, concerns were raised by Crs Rob Priestly and Geoff Dobson over the uncertainties over the process, including a previously estimated cost of $700,000 with basic infrastructure improvements in the order of $300,000, and what council would be getting itself into.
Cr Priestly urged caution and to use the remaining two weeks prior to the cut-off date to evaluate the proposal.
“It’s healthy intent to try to support the community of Murchison, so our differences are not about intent, it’s just about execution,” he said.
“My view is we still have two weeks. Before we commit our ratepayer’s money to any process, I think we should try to draw as much of that information together before we submit.”
Advocates of lodging at EOI, including Cr Seema Abdullah, said that a submission would not put the council under any new risk or obligation.
“I believe the risk to council not any more than it is under the officer’s recommendation,” Cr Abdullah said.
“We can assure the Murchison community the council is listening to them, but also making it clear that unless the conditions are satisfied, the EOI cannot proceed.”
If council purchases the property, it would seek to lease it to a nursing home operator.