By DAVID HILL
New residents are slowly moving in, as Kaiapoi’s The Sterling Village bursts into life.
The first residents moved into the brand new retirement village in Silverstream just before Christmas, and village general manager Suzi Cadigan says all 18 units from stage one will be occupied by the end of March.
“We’ve got nine units occupied so it’s just a small community at this point, but they’re enjoying getting to know each other and sharing cups of tea, sharing craft ideas and playing board games.
“They’re becoming their own little community, like an extended family, which is really lovely because a lot of people don’t have their extended family around them.”
Another 16 units are under construction as part of stage two and are expected to be ready in November.
“We’ve had lots of interest. We are such a new alternative to Kaiapoi which is really exiting for the town and Silverstream is such a lovely area,” Ms Cadigan says.
Lime Living Ltd was granted a land-use consent by the Waimakariri District Council last year to build The Sterling Village, spread out over seven hectares of land.
Over the next five years, the developers plan to build 78 independent living units, 267 apartments, 48 residential care beds and 36 memory care beds.
The Sterling Village is being constructed alongside the growing Silverstream development as “a village within village”, Ms Cadigan says.
“It’s a nice setting and because we are within the Silverstream village, people love that concept of being part of a wider community and having those wonderful facilities nearby.
“The Sterling is purpose-built and we don’t have any gates or fences.
“We want the residents to be part of the community. We don’t want it to be closed.”
Local amenities such as a cafe, hairdresser, medical centre, dentist and shops are just a short walk away in the Silverstream village and there is easy access to Kaiapoi, and to Christchurch via the motorway, Ms Cadigan says.
For now The Sterling offers a temporary clubhouse for residents to get together socially.
In time new facilities will be added such as lawn bowls, croquet, a putting green, a community garden, a petanque ground and a children’s playground.
The site will also have its own cafe, restaurant, cinema, swimming pool and men’s shed.
Initially these facilities will be for the residents only, but the intention is for them to be opened up to interact with the wider village, Ms Cadigan says.
“We hope to be able to challenge local bowling clubs and croquet clubs to a game.
“There will be some services that will be resident focused, but in general we want to encourage that interaction.”
Ms Cadigan says The Sterling Village is advertising for more staff and expects to establish 60 permanent positions over the next five years as construction is completed.