Loving your local lifestyle

WHAT do these lovely ladies have in common? They would all like to see a lifestyle village built in Clare.

“Whenever I am in a group of people aged 55 and over, and the subject of a lifestyle village comes up, there is a passionate discussion about why we don’t have one in Clare, especially when so many other smaller country towns do,” Clare resident, Bev Sanders said.

“The need for one has been talked about in the community for a long time and more than 10 years ago, several of us, including the late Nat Dunstan, met with the (then) mayor to discuss the situation.”

At that time, a ‘village’ was planned near the golf course, but as this didn’t eventuate, the discussion lapsed – but it hasn’t been forgotten!

“The need is there, and many retired people have left Clare to go and live in one of these places, like the Barossa, YP and Balaklava have,” Bev said.

“I am sure many of those people may have reconsidered their move away from Clare or surrounds should there have been a ‘lifestyle village’ option here.

“When I have visited people in lifestyle villages they all seem really happy.”

While many towns have aged care or retirement facilities, the main difference with a lifestyle village is it is one where you manage your life and activities yourself.

“People still want to lead their own lives, are still active and sociable, but perhaps want to just downsize their home and garden, but still feel safe,” Bev said.

Bev volunteers at the Clare Valley Tourism Centre and said she often hears positive comments about the area and how nice it would be to live here.

“There is no doubt a lifestyle village would attract people from outside the area, and I already know many people who have retired in the Clare Valley because they loved it when driving through or holidaying in the area, but some of these are now looking to down size,” she said.

Lifestyle villages offer homes of various sizes but it’s the ‘community extras’ that make it a social hub.

Extras could include a tennis court, bowling rinks, heated swimming pool and spa, communal garden and workshop, communal room for meals and social events, outdoor barbecue and dining area, gym, and a bus service if required by residents who may not have a car or be able to drive.

“People I speak to are disappointed nothing has eventuated in regard to a lifestyle village, and I would urge real estate people, developers, councillors and investors to look into this matter again so we can keep people here and attract more from outside the region,” Bev said.

“It doesn’t need to be built within the township, just as long as it is in close proximity to use the facilities available.”

“A community survey or a workshop to get feedback would be a good way to start.”