WATCH: Kawana Health Precinct driving development
CONSTRUCTION has begun on a $40 million retirement community project at Kawana Forest, near the Kawana Health Precinct.
The precinct, which is close to world-class facilities, is proving a drawcard for aged-care providers.
The new project - IRT Woodlands - will have a 60-suite, 24-hour staffed care centre and 107 lifestyle villas.
It will house the first residential care centre in Queensland of Illawarra-based not-for-profit care provider IRT Group.
IRT Group chief executive Nieves Murray said the expanding Kawana Health Precinct and Sunshine Coast Public University Hospital had "absolutely" been behind the location choice.
"It's the perfect opportunity for us to bring best-practice health services to older people and for us to have an opportunity as a non-profit organisation to collaborate with the hospital and also the university to improve some of the technologies and some of the care services," she said.
"The Coast has a rapidly aging population - people have migrated here for the lifestyle and then they've decided to retire here."
Ms Murray said one-third of IRT Group's profits went towards developing new models of care for the elderly.
"Being close to the health precinct and also the relationship we're starting to develop with Sunshine Coast University, we're hoping we'll be able to bring innovative thinking here," she said.
One innovation the group hopes to introduce, with the help of state government funding, is inclusive facilities for elderly parents and their disabled children.
"We're exploring providing an opportunity for aging people with a disability to age with their parents," Ms Murray said.
"We're exploring that model in New South Wales currently and we're hoping if that is successful it will bring that concept here."
The first of the lifestyle units is expected to be ready for sale by June and the staffed aged care centre will be completed by April next year.
During construction up to 200 people will be employed onsite and 60 people will be employed in the care centre on completion.
Birtinya-based builder RGD Group was awarded the tender for the construction of stage one.