16 May 2023

'Daycares are needed in suburban areas': Councillor vents frustration at childcare plan knockback

| Jarryd Rowley
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former PCYC building

Despite recent childcare facility developments being denied by Wagga Wagga City Council, Cr Rod Kendall is confident that the $1.5 million plans to turn the old PCYC building into a childcare centre will be approved. Photo: Supplied.

Parents of young children have been left confused and frustrated by Wagga Wagga City Council’s decision to reject yet another application for a new childcare facility during its meeting last week (8 May).

The five-to-three vote against the proposed $894,300, 46-place childcare centre in Halloran Street, Turvey Park, was the second time the council knocked such a development application back in the past year.

The decision has left many, including sitting local councillors, frustrated.

Cr Rod Kendall said he hoped people would begin to realise the importance of having accessible childcare in suburban areas.

“Daycares are needed in suburban areas. People need to realise that and think of it less as something that will upset their quiet lifestyle,” the former Wagga mayor said.

READ ALSO Wagga Council knocks back proposed childcare facility amid local concerns

“Often with new businesses in residential areas there is a bit of backlash, but daycares are not noisy businesses.

“I was satisfied that the possible traffic congestion that would be caused as a result of the facility would be nowhere near as drastic as that of the school which is around the corner.

“Unlike a school, the facility’s pick-up time is determined purely by when the parent or carer chooses to pick up or drop off their child anytime throughout the day. It does not correlate with the 15-minute peak period at the start and end of a school day.”

The applicant for the recently rejected facility, Money Aint Got No Owners, will need to address several issues in a readjusted development application and resubmit it to the council if it intends to continue its push for the project.

“I feel one of the major issues that contributed to the non-decision was the lack of available parking, which led to fears of traffic congestion,” Cr Kendall said.

“If they design a car park that can satisfy greater needs while also complying with regulations, that would be a good move that should satisfy my fellow councillors.”

READ ALSO Wagga residents part of $132 million PFAS class action settlement against Defence; Wreck Bay awaits

The decision to refuse the Halloran Street childcare bid in its current state comes as project developer Maas Group Properties plans to present its recently lodged redevelopment application for the old PCYC building to the council within the next three to six months.

The $1.5 million redevelopment plan looks to cater to a 132-place childcare centre.

“It would seem that there is a particular need for an extra allocation of childcare in Wagga Wagga, and while there have been a couple of applications knocked back in recent times, there should be no issues from surrounding issues in regards to the application on Gurwood Street [old PCYC building],” Cr Kendall said.

“The facility was being used as recently as 2021, has easy and accessible car parking facilities and appears to be a fairly obvious choice for a childcare facility. I can’t imagine there being too much backlash to the application.”

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