News & Events

$16m Leith Park extension begins

August 21, 2017

The Old Colonists’ Association of Victoria (OCAV) has contracted Hewcon Group to construct stage one of the $16 million extension to its Leith Park retirement village in St Helena. The award-winning Hewcon Group is an accredited Master Builder and has been admitted as a member of the Green Building Council of Australia.

Hewcon completed one of the first commercial Greenstar retrofits in Australia, the 6-star green star Solar Systems manufacturing facility in Abbotsford and has previously partnered with Housing Choices Australia to successfully complete affordable housing apartment projects on difficult former VicTrack land parcels.

Phillip Wohlers, OCAV CEO, said Hewcon Group had been appointed after an extensive EOI process because of its ability to deliver major projects on time, budget, and to work sensitively in a retirement village setting, as well as its environmental credentials.

“We are delighted that work is now underway. The development is an essential part of our Vision 2020 which is to offer more older Victorians in need affordable retirement living,” CEO Phillip Wohlers said.

“Our homes are already known for providing older people with the accommodation and facilities they need to keep living independently and well for as long as possible,” he added.

The construction at Leith Park will see an additional 46 state of the art independent living units built, bringing the total number of units on the site to 140. Currently Leith Park offers 118 self-contained independent living homes, including 15 two-bedroom homes and 103 one-bedroom homes, each with a laundry, modern kitchen, bathroom and living/ dining area. At its peak, daily construction workforce on the site is expected to exceed 85 people.

“Hewcon is excited to be appointed principal contractor for OCAV at Leith Park. This project will surpass affordable housing objectives in particular, long term environmental quality. Residents will enjoy visible and measurable sustainability outcomes including reduced energy and water consumption, harvested rainwater for irrigation and extensive use of environmentally friendly materials,” Darryl Hewson, Managing Director Hewcon Group said.
MGS Architects, a highly-regarded leader in the design of affordable housing, has been engaged by OCAV to oversee the development.

Investing in safer buildings

As well, a $555,000 building program to renovate Leith Park’s ‘pink’ buildings is underway. Funded entirely by OCAV, as part of its commitment to making its villages dementia-friendly and as hazard-free as possible, the renovations will be complete by the end of the year.

Builders Peter Catoggio Construction and Furlong Painting are working on the two-staged renovation which will remove significant trip hazards for residents.


“Part of our Vision for 2020 is to assist more older Victorians in need. This not only means expanding housing in our existing villages but also making sure that the accommodation is age-friendly,” CEO Phillip Wohlers said.

Since 2009, OCAV has invested $46.1 million across its four villages to provide extra housing.

"I love the fact that Rushall Park residents and volunteers are so active – contributing to life in the village. The sense of the community is strong which is why I put my name on the waiting list" - Maggie Birkett.

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