Victoria's Ross Dunning has been named Village Manager of the Year in the Property Council's annual National Retirement Living Awards.
Mr Dunning has been senior manager of the Arcadia Group's Rylands of Hawthorn independent living retirement community in Melbourne since 2017. The five-level complex comprises 84 apartments for more than 100 residents.
He began working in the retirement living sector in 2013 following a career in hospitality and the wine industry.
Judges said Mr Dunning has improved residents' enjoyment of their retirement living experience and a continuous improvement program he instituted has been adopted by the entire Arcadia Group.
"Ross has brought a special focus to the challenge of supporting residents suffering from dementia and dementia-related issues, and has been been proactive in developing solutions for residents and their families," the panel said.
"He has also driven a strong focus on training and development for his staff, which has contributed to confident and mutually friendly relationships between staff and residents."
Mr Dunning has overseen a number of complex projects at Rylands of Hawthorn including sourcing a solar energy provider to cut energy costs.
The Benson retirement village in the Melbourne suburb of Toorak won the award for design excellence. The four-level, 33-apartment complex evolved from a social mission - how to preserve the heritage-listed St Peters parish church.
The availability of land around the church led the parish committee to pursue a solution that would see the development of a new retirement community while also reinvigorating the area and helping to fund restoration of the church and parish facilities.
"The Benson presents an outstanding example of how to address the problems arising from the dual issues of an ageing population in established inner urban areas and a shortage of land to enable development of new housing that meets their needs," the panel said. "Central to the solution has been the creation of a retirement community that remains connected to its surroundings.
"The Benson meets the Liveable Housing Code gold standard to allow the retrofitting of mobility aids and to enable accessibility for residents as they age. It also offers a wide range of apartment types to meet changing market demand. The need for adaptability is balanced with high quality finishes and detail and generous spatial provisions."
The architect for the project was Simon Hanger of the Demaine Partnership and the builder was Buxton Construction.
Salesperson of the Year was Stockland's Jane Flynn, a sales professional for Mernda Village in Melbourne's northern suburbs. Stockland also won the award for Retirement Living Innovation for its Serviced Apartments Home Care Brokerage model.
The Ingenia Award for Future Retirement Living Leader went to Lendlease project manager, portfolio management, Nidhi Saunders.
Ardency Trebartha in Sydney's Elizabeth Bay won the Keeley Green Interior Design Award for Best Refurbishment, while Ingenia Communities' Plantations in Woolgoolga, NSW, took out the top spot for marketing excellence.
The Retirement Living Awards recognise the contribution and achievements across all areas of the retirement living sector.
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