10 May 2023

Wagga Council knocks back proposed childcare facility amid local concerns

| Jarryd Rowley
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childcare site with red cross superimposed

Wagga Wagga City Council has knocked back the proposed development of a new childcare centre in Turvey Park. Photo: Supplied.

Wagga Wagga City Council has opposed the development of a new $894,300, 46-place childcare facility on Halloran Street due to local residents’ fears of potential traffic congestion, limited carpark space and water retention.

The council debated for nearly two hours in front of a packed gallery, with discussions and questions centring on traffic-related issues.

Turvey Park resident Steven Kenyon was one of two speakers opposing the plan. Mr Kenyon demonstrated to the council the potential flooding risk that the new facility could pose to neighbouring households across Halloran and Blamey streets.

“The main cannot handle the water that will come from the area of this proposed site,” Mr Kenyon said.

He also expressed concerns about the limited carpark space of the proposed two-storey site.

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“The carpark design is of the bare minimum and is forward,” he said.

”There is no allowance made for deliveries which will be made during the day, contrary to the applicant’s claim.

“For the carpark to comply, it needs to be 300mm longer where the fence passes across the end of it. There is also no allowance to the extension of the blind isle to allow cars to exit out of the carpark in a forward direction.”

Potential traffic congestion during peak pick-up periods in relation to Turvey Park Primary School was also brought to the attention of the council, with similarities made to the controversial Fast Lane Drive Thru Coffee exit on Hammond Avenue.

Money Aint Got No Owners director Darren White attempted to reassure the council that the report detailing the construction plans, including parking and water retention, met the requirements needed to operate a new facility.

“Regarding the submissions that our DA [development application] received from the community, many of the submissions were in regards to potential increase in traffic and parking demands,” Mr White said.

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“It is important to note that our third-party traffic consultant did the analysis for his report on site on a rainy school day, and the data for that probably represents the worst-case scenario for road usage in the street and as the report states, there is still more than enough capacity for a small-scale centre as the one we are proposing.”

Following Mr White’s insistence that the new facility would not cause headaches for traffic and ”at most, be busy for 15 minutes”, several councillors proposed withholding the vote and the approval of the development in order for applicant Money Aint Got No Owners Pty Ltd to properly flesh out gaps and concerns about the proposed site, but this amendment was denied.

Ultimately, the application for the childcare facility was knocked back, five votes to three.

The decision comes despite overwhelming fears that Wagga Wagga does not have adequate childcare facilities; however, plans for a $1.5 million redevelopment of the old PCYC facility into a 132-place childcare centre were lodged last week.

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