Some residents of Aspen Rest Home are already moving out of the facility following the news the site will be part of the upcoming new Tauranga Court House build.
A total of 10 residents are moving facilities within the next week in response to the impending $150 million project being constructed next to the current Tauranga District Court facilities.
The Minister of Justice Kris Faafoi announced the new build on Wednesday, with the land between Monmouth and McLean Streets, including Aspen Rest Home, the location.
The land and buildings currently occupied by Aspen are owned by Buttermilk Residential Care Limited.
Director Paul Washer says a conditional sale agreement was agreed and signed “some months ago” and that all new residents were made aware of an impending sale.
He says that the Crown confirmed the sale last week at which point some residents began finding other facilities.
“It has been well known by all residents and staff that the building has been on the market for some months and the lease contained a demolition clause and it is obvious that the site was ripe for redevelopment at some time,” says Paul.
“Already this week, since the confirmation announcement was made last week, a total of 10 residents are already moving to other facilities in the district within the next week.
“A number of the resident’s family members have now taken the initiative to move their elderly relatives out of town to be closer to them.”
The rest home business based at the facilities was sold by Buttermilk Residential Care to current Aspen Lifecare manager Yvonne King about two years ago.
Paul says Yvonne is doing all she can to make the experience as stress-free as possible for those impacted.
Aspen Rest Home is part of the wider construction site for the new build. Photo. John Borren.
“We are now working with Yvonne to slowly move the residents to new facilities over the coming months,” says Paul.
“Yvonne is very focused on ensuring that the impact on the residents is minimized as much as possible and is very aware of the needs of the residents and is very careful in looking after them.”
Paul says since purchasing the “struggling” facility seven years ago, Buttermilk Residential Care has spent a “considerable sum” of money on converting it from a rest home facility to a rest home and hospital centre.
Even so, he admits the current Aspen infrastructure is increasingly under stress and periodically failing and that the courthouse development should be welcomed.
“This new development is very exciting for the city,” he says.
“Despite the conversions, the buildings are approaching 45 years old and are of an outdated design. For example, nearly all rooms lack an ensuite.
“When compared to the new facilities that are available around the city Aspen is tired and outdated.”
The Ministry of Justice state that construction on the new courthouse is anticipated to begin in 2023 and that Aspen Rest Home is a part of the wider site where the new build will be situated.
“It’s an exciting project for Tauranga, which will see a new and significant civic building constructed in the city centre,” says Ministry of Justice deputy secretary Corporate & Digital Services Tina Wakefield.
Tina also confirms that normal services can continue at the current Tauranga District Court building on McLean Street and that a new build is seen as beneficial, as opposed to the redevelopment of the current site.
The current Tauranga District Court building. Photo. File/Image.
“Rebuilding on a new site means court operations can continue without disruption in the existing courthouse until the new one is completed,” says Tina.
“This is great news as it means we won’t face the challenges associated with redeveloping or rebuilding on the same site as where the Court is operating.
“I can’t talk for everyone but I think it would be safe to say from the work we have done that Ministry staff are pleased to know they won’t have to work in a site that is also being redeveloped around them and look forward to being able to operate from a modern courthouse designed to meet the needs of their community.”
The new building is set to increase the number of courtrooms available in Tauranga which will allow High Court cases to be heard in the city. Such cases are currently heard in Rotorua.
The new courthouse is expected to be completed by 2026.