Association president Michelle Smith with builder Adrian Ramke in the kitchen of one of the new units

April 14, 2013

The builders handed over the keys on Friday for the latest two units built in Wondai’s unique low-cost housing project, The Laurels.

The Laurels is run by a local not-for-profit group, the Wondai and District Independent Living Units For The Aged Inc, which was established many years ago by former Wondai Shire Council CEO Alan Keates.

Association president Michelle Smith said many people believed The Laurels – which is built on the site of the former Wondai State School – was a council project, but in fact it has always been independently run.

The complex, located in Pring Street, has been developed in stages and more than a hundred people have resided there over the past 36 years.

The first units were opened in May 1977 by then-Premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen.  A second series were opened in January 1982 by the late Bob Katter Sr, and then the last lot in July 1983 by Lady Bjelke-Petersen.

Units 19 and 20, which will be occupied by their new tenants within a few days, will be officially opened in May by Mr Keates who has been invited back for the occasion.

Mrs Smith said tenants must be “of the age to receive the age pension” to qualify for residence. They can be single or a married couple.

However, it is not means-tested and anyone from the former Wondai Shire can apply.

“Vacancies are always filled quickly and there’s a waiting list,” Mrs Smith said.

Residents don’t have to pay rates or water charges, or worry about the upkeep of the buildings or the grounds. However they can maintain their own small garden area if they desire.

The latest two units were built by Adrian Ramke, from AKR Builders in Wondai.

They are one-bedroom and feature a large combined dining / lounge / kitchenette area.  Safety rails have been fitted in the bathroom and the shower recess allows easy access for people with disabilities.

Mrs Smith paid tribute to the vision of Alan Keates who had made the complex possible.

“It was always his vision to build low-cost housing here, close to town and close to doctors,” she said.

Mrs Smith said there may just be enough space within the area to construct two more units,  but the association would have to locate funding to make this possible.

The group also looks after two units at Proston.

The name “The Laurels” comes from the camphor laurel trees which grace the area.

One of the two new units … built in the shade of the camphor laurels on the site
Mrs Joan Harm has been a resident at The Laurels for just under 12 months … and loves it

Anderssons Fruit Market for quality fruits and vegetables
Beautiful Xmas Gifts from Shop 38, Kingaroy - click here


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