THERE will be no new childcare centre in Park Street, Inverloch, after Bass Coast Shire councillors agreed with neighbouring objectors and vetoed the plan at last week’s council meeting.
But it was a close run thing with councillors split 4:3.
While the council officers’ report recommended the plans be approved, an alternate motion rejecting the proposal was moved by Cr Clare Le Serve.
In front of a public gallery packed with affected Inverloch residents she said the site was not appropriate for a number of reasons.
“The basis of my decision to refuse this application is on its location in a predominantly residential area and the traffic congestion it will cause in residential streets, especially the number of car movements picking up and dropping off.
“The 32 objectors all have valid concerns and the setback and design does nothing to mitigate the impact on their amenity.
“We do need a childcare centre in Inverloch but this is not the right place for it.”
Cr Neil Rankine supported Cr Le Serve.
“I can’t envisage 800 cars a day not having some kind of impact on residents,” Cr Rankine said.
Cr Kimberly Brown agreed, adding that “this simply is not the right spot for this centre”.
But most councillors acknowledged that a childcare centre was needed.
Cr Phil Wright said it was not a matter of “if Inverloch would have a new centre, but when”.
“Young families are growing up in Inverloch,” Cr Phillip Wright said.
“And the people present in the gallery need to start thinking about the future of the town, and start having a say.
“Please don’t think that this is the end of the discussion about childcare in Inverloch.”
During question time, Cr Jordan Crugnale noted that there are no early learning childcare centres in Inverloch.
“There are 233 children between the ages of zero and four in town. There is a clear demand for childcare in Inverloch,” Cr Crugnale said.
“The fact that there are other childcare centres in the shire is not a planning constraint.”
Cr Andrew Phillips said a conversation about this issue needs to be had.
“We’re looking at a good plan before us for childcare,” Cr Phillips said.
“If we don’t approve this one for this location, then when would we approve one in a residential area?
“There is always going to be the argument that no one wants this built in their own backyard. There is a need for sufficient childcare, whether you like it or not.”
Cr Bradley Drew agreed.
“We already have childcare centres situated in residential areas. We have a proposal here before us, and we need to address these concerns,” Cr Drew said.
Prior to the vote being taken, the local councillor Jordan Crugnale admitted to being conflicted by the decision but in the end she voted in favour of the Park Street proposal.
It was however lost on a vote of 4:3; Crs Brown, Rankine, Wright and Le Serve against the Park Street site and Crs Philips, Drew and Crugnale in favour.
Park Street resident Angela Murray went away happy with the result.
“We do need childcare, and will support a move to build something in the future, just not in Park Street. We are pleased with the result. It feels nice to be listened to.”
There is another proposal to develop a 60-place centre on the site of the former South Gippsland Water offices at 11-13 William Street.