Murrindindi Shire Council has inserted itself as a key player in the dispute over the future of Kellock Lodge residential aged care facility at Alexandra.
This follows last month’s public meeting where more than 370 people voted to reject Anglican Bishop John Parkes’s bid to merge Kellock Lodge with St John’s Village, Wangaratta.
The Council is now seeking to mediate a solution that is to the satisfaction of local people, but also addresses the concerns of the Bishop and the split 5-3 Board of Directors at Kellock Lodge.
Murrindindi Shire Council has met with Bishop Parkes, who has agreed to a temporary one-month postponement for a meeting for Kellock Lodge and St John’s Village members.
Chief Executive Officer Craig Lloyd, and Councillors, are risking ongoing credibility with the public if they fail to deliver a solution that meets with the expectations of the community.
Mr Lloyd first asked for public calm, after chairing the public meeting on Friday, June 22.
The Kellock Lodge issue has been the subject of ABC Radio Melbourne attention with morning presenter Jon Faine discussing the matter on air with Maurie Pawsey (Tuesday), Craig Lloyd (Wednesday), and a letter from Bishop John Parkes (Thursday).
“Thank you Jon Faine and ABC for the opportunity to discuss Kellock Lodge,” said Mr Lloyd in a social media post last week.
“Council is working with the Wangaratta Diosese and representatives of the Alexandra community and will keep our community informed as discussions progress,” Mr Lloyd said.
At last Wednesday’s Council meeting, Mr Lloyd reported: “It is clear that our community is passionate about Kellock Lodge with 378 community members attending.
“The connection to Kellock Lodge and the concerns over its future were recognised by the passing of two motions.
“Council continues to work with all parties to ensure community concerns are addressed, high quality care is maintained, and that Kellock Lodge is preserved for the Alexandra and Murrindindi Shire communities,” Mr Lloyd said.
Cr Eric Lording said on Facebook that he had addressed questions directly to the Bishop.
“Face to face with the Bishop yesterday I first asked three questions.
• “Can you guarantee that the residents bonds are secure?” Answer Yes unequivically.
• “Can you guarantee continuing the present level of care?” Answer: Yes.
• Are you intending to sell the Kellock Lodge and/or St Johns (Wang) ?”Answer: No.
“Also during the discussion the Bishop advised that the EBA would remain as is. So pay levels and staffing will remain the same.
“When asked if the local management will have the authority to handle emergencies, he said the delegation levels will remain the same, only having to go to the boards when delegations are exceeded which is the same as now.”
Cr Lording said it was a spirited meeting with many aspects covered.
Both the Bishop of Wangaratta and the Archbishop of Melbourne have received a torrent of communications from members of the Alex-andra community.
Both churchmen have enlisted professional communications consultants. Bishop Parkes is still yet to return a June 22 phone call from The Local Paper.
I feel compelled to voice my disgust and disappointment at the situation Kellock Lodge is now having to deal with.
Back in 1984 I was involved in fundraising for community donations so we could lay the foundations for what has, since that day, grown to be such a wonderful asset for our community and the Shire.
Taggerty residents were asked for their support, so four Mums took on the challenge, Linda Bunn, Margot Southam, Lyn Featherstone and myself.
For six months we collected and stockpiled everything imaginable, donations of seconds from Melbourne factories, any junk and bric-a-brac, furniture, we had cake,clothing, plant and stalls of every description culminating in a continuous two-day auction and selling frenzy at the Taggerty Hall and Fire Shed.
How well I remember Jenny Robinson baking 30-odd passionfruit sponges.
We raised approx. $3000 which in ’84 was a great amount.
The late Cr. Kath Cooper who embraced the original plans for Kellock Lodge regarded us as “4 Miracle Mums” for our efforts.
Since that time our whole community has maintained that sort of enthusiasm for Kellock – after all – KELLOCK IS OURS.
Here and now one must really ask why the Bishop and certain Board members have created the current situation.
No doubt there must have been discussions and meetings between these five people behind the scenes, excluding some of the Board members, staff and residents.
Obviously this group of people have no allegiance to our community. What have they been promised by the Bishop?
There are many questions to be asked about this behaviour by the Bishop and his followers, threatening the future of our wonderful institution, Kellock Lodge.
Maroondah Hwy, Taggerty