A Victorian local council is urging the State Government to acquire a derelict retirement village which has been an “eyesore” since its closure almost five years ago.

 

The Berkeley Living complex in Patterson Lakes, around 35km southwest of the Melbourne CBD, was shut down due to safety concerns in late 2017, and the City of Kingston Council has spent more than $100,000 in the intervening years to secure it against vandals.

 

Residents who purchased leases at the village have struggled to claim refunds, and the media dubbed the abandoned site a “cesspool for crime”; Kingston Mayor Steve Staikos is now calling on Consumer Affairs Victoria to buy the former village, saying provisions that would allow it to do so have recently come into effect.

 

“I have recently written to the Minister for Consumer Affairs, who has confirmed that following amendments to the Retirement Villages Act 1986 the Director, Consumer Affairs Victoria is currently considering legal intervention to provide for the sale of the land," he said..

 

“The community has been deeply concerned the complex will remain an eyesore into the future, and it is essential the State Government now acts.”

 

Kingston Council has acknowledged the “complex legal issues” surrounding the site, which has 39 individual lots, some now owned by deceased estates.

 

Stephen George Snowden, who was involved in the management of Berkeley Living Retirement Village, was ordered to pay costs of more than $29,000, plus a fine of $12,000, after he was found guilty of offences under Victorian retirement village laws in February 2020.

 

A hearing at the Frankston Magistrates’ Court found that Mr Snowden breached the Retirement Villages Act 1986 by being involved in managing a retirement village:

  • while he was insolvent, and
  • before five years had passed after a conviction for an offence involving fraud or dishonesty, punishable with a prison term of not less than three months.

 

Under the law, a person must meet criteria before they can be involved in a retirement village’s management.

 

 

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