Clubs like aged care idea
CASH-strapped Tweed clubs have welcomed government moves to allow them to develop housing for seniors on their sites. The NSW Planning Minister Frank Sartor has this week released a draft plan changing existing planning laws and allowing clubs to develop aged care facilities onsite. Tweed Clubs chairman Rob Smith, the Twin Towns boss, said the initiative was a recognition of the role clubs could play in providing a range of retirement options. "It is a good fit," Mr Smith said. The move, he said would allow seniors to live within the existing social fabric of the club. "Dancing, entertainment, sporting opportunites - what we offer is what that demographic is looking for." Mr Smith said even though aged care operations was something that clubs were embracing across NSW he wasn't aware of any Tweed club opening such a facility in the near future. But, he said, it was something that every club would consider. "When the smoking ban comes into place on July 2, we are expecting to take a financial downturn" he said. "Every club is looking for ways to expand and diversify." Mr Smith said clubs which had excess land would look for development opportunities. The Twin Towns clubs and resorts have land at Club Banora which it is looking to develop. However, Northern Rivers Gambling Services psychologist and manager Yvonne Corrigan said the new initiative would make seniors "easy targets" for gambling addiction. "Accessibility leads to more problem gambling." Ms Corrigan said. "Loneliness, boredom and lack of alternatives if they can't travel to other places makes them vulnerable. "Seniors are in danger of developing problem gambling and losing all their assets." But Mr Smith said Club Banora was a good example of how residential centres co-existed with each other. "Many independent retirement care centres surround the club because of the services it provides," he said. "And there is no evidence to support that problem gambling is higher there." "NSW government has just completed a new survey which reveals problem gambling rates have more than halved in the past four years," he said.