Demolition Nan! Resident, 80, commences Somervale demolition
26 August 2022
Jeanette Andrews, a resident at Somervale for the past eight years, addresses the crowd.
Resident Jeanette Andrews, 80, pulled the lever on a 23.5-tonne digger that smashed through the roof of the village’s old care home last week.
The symbolic event followed a site blessing by Ratana Church Minister Reginald Tahau, Tauranga Moana, and marked the start of Somervale’s extensive regeneration project.
Jeanette, who has been a resident at Somervale for eight years, including six as President of the Residents’ Committee, said demolishing the old building came with mixed emotions as many residents had loved ones who formerly resided in the old care home.
Addressing a crowd of more than 100 residents and external contractors, she said despite the sadness, it was time to make way for the future. “Bring it on!” she said, then mounted the steps of the digger on a custom-made platform, under the careful watch of the demolition contractor.
The event marks the start of Stage 1 of Somervale’s regeneration programme, which will deliver a modern amenity building and 30 new independent living apartments into the village in mid-2024. This follows the provision of a new care home into the village in 2019.
Senior Development Manager Dave Luxton, who is overseeing the project, said Somervale was situated on a premium site close to Mount Maunganui, but was looking a bit tired in places.
“The village is over 40 years old and it’s fair to say it’s time for an upgrade. We’re really excited about what we’re delivering here - a modern Home Star 7-rated building (one of the highest sustainability ratings used in New Zealand), and state-of-the-art amenities. We really want this to be a place that residents are proud to call home.”
The event at Somervale marks the start of Metlifecare’s ambitious regeneration programme to transform around a dozen older villages in prime locations over the next decade.
“We’re investing substantially in our existing villages in order to enhance our already vibrant communities and create truly special environments that our residents can be proud of and, most importantly, where they can thrive,” Dave continued. “This investment includes the provision of new amenity facilities; high-quality, modern and sustainably built apartments; and importantly, the introduction of much-needed premium-quality care to allow our residents to remain in their village should their needs change.”