Whiddon’s Grafton facility gives economic injection
THE Whiddon Group Grafton has begun construction on its state-of-the-art facility upgrade and expects work to be completed in a little over two years.
With the build cost totalling about $24 million, Whiddon Group CEO Chris Mamarelis says he thinks it is the biggest private construction investment in Grafton in recent times.
"This is probably the biggest project that has come to Grafton in a long time," Mr Mamarelis said.
"The current services is injecting about $5 million every year into the local community, and when we finish in a couple of years we will be doubling that.
"At the end of construction we will be putting about $10 million back into the local community through jobs, local businesses and that way."
The construction has come after the Federal Government announced $2.1 million yearly funding for the increase in the number of beds at the Crown St aged-care facility.
Expansion of the Whiddon Group site was approved by the Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel in May
Mr Mamarelis explained that the driving force behind the Whiddon expansion was a need to upgrade the aging facility.
"We are obviously in a building that needs an update. It has been here for 35 years-plus and we want to be here for 30 years into the future," he said. "We have people on our existing waiting list, and people coming in all the time, also the ABS shows there is a demand in the Clarence Valley and its surrounding areas. We are going to meet that demand with this new development."
Regional construction company Woollam Constructions has been tasked with completing the expansion project over the next two years and it is expected that at least 60 jobs will be available during the construction phase.