Since 1988 Surfers Paradise Rotary Club has constructed and managed 15 one-bedroom villas to provide affordable accommodation for needy pensioners in our community. The complex is known as Golden Wheel Villas, in the Gold Coast suburb of Arundel. We have just expanded this Community Project.
 
GOLDEN WHEEL VILLAS - STAGE 3
EXPANDING OUR COMMUNITY HOUSING PROJECT
 
 
Since 1988 Surfers Paradise Rotary Club has constructed and managed 15 one-bedroom villas to provide affordable accommodation for needy pensioners in our community. The complex is known as Golden Wheel Villas, in the Gold Coast suburb of Arundel.  (See separate story for Stages 1 and 2)
 
When Surfers Paradise Rotary Club applied for a government grant in 2002 to help build additional villas, the government advised that no further government assistance would be available. 
 
Surfers Paradise Rotary Club was therefore faced with the decision to either just continue to manage the fifteen existing villas; or for the Club to raise further funds to expand the village and provide additional, much needed accommodation for pensioners unable to afford the rents in the commercial market.
 
Our Rotary members had first-hand experience of the difficulties many pensioners of limited means, particularly elderly ladies now on their own, faced in meeting the cost of rental accommodation. So we decided to try to do more for this growing problem and to expand this major community project. 
 
Over the next few years Surfers Paradise Rotary Club finally obtained planning approval for use of a portion of the adjoining land. A very efficient 45 square metre one bedroom villa was designed to suit the needs of elderly single pensioners.
 
Despite the many setbacks and delays along the way, Surfers Paradise Rotary Club was finally able to open the 8 new single person villas on 25 June 2015. 
This brought the total number of villas in our community project to 23, accommodating a maximum of 38 residents.
 
All members of the Surfers Paradise Rotary Club are also members of Rotary Golden Wheel Villas Limited and took part in the decision making.  The members and partners also contribute to the ongoing working bees and fund raising activities.
 
The total cost of constructing Stage 3 of Golden Wheel Villas amounted to some $1,350,000, of which all except $200,000 was provided by funds generated by Surfers Paradise Rotary Club and Golden Wheel Villas Ltd.  The additional $200,000 has been loaned by Club members and will be repaid from surpluses generated by the villas.
 
One of the most difficult tasks was choosing the 8 lucky new residents from the long list of applicants we had received as word got about that new villas were under construction.  We have been able to select a group who are very caring and supportive of each other, and who are most appreciative of the support Rotary provides to the community.  They fit in well with the current residents of Golden Wheel Villas, noting that two of the single ladies in the larger units moved into the single units, to enable two deserving couples to also move into the earlier Villas.
 
New Resident Selection Criteria:  Surfers Paradise Rotary Club appoints 4 members to interview a selection of appropriate applicants and score them on the categories of - Need, Situation, Finances, Compatibility and Deserving.  We are influenced by the urgency of the current difficulties each applicant is facing, and try to use the infrequent vacancies to alleviate the greatest hardship.
 
All applicants must be able to look after themselves, though assistance such as Meals on Wheels does not disqualify them.  All must be non-smokers and we do not allow cats or dogs.  There are unwritten rules for living compatibly which the residents make for themselves, and we encourage them to keep a small flower or vegetable garden, and plant any surplus plants in the common gardens.
 
No member of Surfers Paradise Rotary Club carries any financial risk in the Golden Wheel Villas, with the exception of those members who voluntarily loaned funds to complete Stage 3, under a commercial loan agreement and we are confident the loans will be paid out in line with the loan contracts.
The voluntary services provided by Rotarians, friends and partners enable Golden Wheel Villas to produce a surplus every year, and those surpluses are quarantined by Surfers Paradise Rotary Club towards providing further villas in the future.