Village seeking more staff as work ends

Observatory Village Lifecare general manager Rosie Dwyer stands outside its future two-storey, 10...
Observatory Village Lifecare general manager Rosie Dwyer stands outside its future two-storey, 10-apartment complex. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD
As Oamaru retirement complex Observatory Village Lifecare prepares to open the last of its care bed wings, it is also in the process of recruiting more staff.

The village's 20-bed Waitaki wing, set to open shortly after Easter, will bring the number of hospital-level care beds at the facility up to 81.

It will be the fourth and final wing to open, joining Kakanui, Ahuriri and Wanbrow.

Observatory Village Lifecare general manager Rosie Dwyer said it was looking for more staff to bring it in line with its desire to have close to one staff member for each resident.

At present it has 61 residents and about 70 staff, not including people who live in the village's apartments and villas.

Mrs Dwyer was looking to recruit registered and enrolled nurses, caregivers and housekeeping and kitchen staff, at least 10 in total, which would make it one of the largest employers in the district.

The need for more staff was brought about by faster than expected growth, she said.

"We have been developing and expanding quite quickly since we opened in August 2017. It's quite significant growth.

"It's exciting and it's challenging because we are in a phase of continuous change and growth, and we have to be able to meet the needs of our residents and the environment we are working in. We're trying to meet the needs of the community."

Growth has been led by demand for villas.

In November, Observatory Village Lifecare Ltd chief financial officer Katrina Hollywell told the Otago Daily Times it had been anticipated that it would take up to five and a-half years to fill the planned 18 villas, a process which only took 18 months.

Since then, the construction of 16 villas had been completed with the remaining two to be ready shortly.

All completed villas are occupied and the two still under construction have been sold.

Construction is also ongoing on the village's two-storey, 10-apartment complex, expected to be completed in July.

A second complex, with a further 10 apartments, was likely to be completed in July next year and will take the total number to 32.

The first 10 have been sold and there was a waiting list for the 10 yet to be built, Mrs Dwyer said.

More apartments would follow, she said.

"There are plans for more villas in time. There is space for up to 50 or 60 more villas, so that will keep going."

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