CHILDCARE FEARS


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ONE hundred children under the age of six could lose their child care facilities if a plan to bulldoze the Playmates Cottage Child Care Centre to make way for the proposed Macquarie Homestay hospital visitor accommodation project.

The closure of the cottage will place the city’s already critical shortage of childcare places under even more pressure as the cost to find and refurbish a new childcare centre would be more than $1 million.

Currently Dubbo has 12 childcare centres which can cater for 840 children.

However the industry is stretched to almost breaking point with an average of 70 children on waiting lists with a 12-month wait before a spot becomes available according to industry representatives.

The cottage’s manager Christine Castlehouse and its public officer and finance manager Annette Priest told the Daily Liberal they had been seeking confirmation to what has been to date just rumour, from the hospital’s manager Debbie Bickerton and Western Area Health’s chief executive officer Scot McLachlan whether the lease, which expires in 2015 would not be renewed to make way for the accommodation project.

They said an initial request for a meeting with Ms Bickerton to discuss the matter had been rejected but after a second attempt on October 22 the committee were told they could meet with the hospital manager on December 2. The annual general meeting of the accommodation project’s committee will be held on Tuesday.

However a statement from Ms Bickerton said the future of the cottage was already determined.

“The Western NSW Local Health District has been open with management at Playmates Cottage about the potential for the future redevelopment of the site at Dubbo Health Service, currently leased by the childcare centre,” Ms Bickerton’s media release said.

“The lease is due to expire in December 2015.

“I have a meeting scheduled with representatives from the childcare centre on December 2.”

Playmates Cottage opened in September 1985 and about 3000 Dubbo children have passed through its doors.

It is licensed to cater for 42 children aged between nought and six years each day.

When the cottage was established in 1985 it was built with state and federal funding with substantial support from the Dubbo City Council. The land was provided by the base hospital with significant support from then CEO, Brian Semmler.

Today, about 40 per cent of the parents who have children enrolled in the cottage either work at the hospital or work in allied health jobs, Ms Castlehouse said.

In its early days the cottage was set up under a 21-year peppercorn lease which expired in 2006 and was eventually renewed for three years with an option to renew for a further two years. The peppercorn rent was revoked and a monthly rent, totalling $35,000 per annum, was imposed.

The Macquarie Homestay aims to provide a home-away-from home for families of patients from around the region. It is being backed by a Dubbo-based volunteer committee that has been working for several years to get the project underway. On Monday a cheque for more than $176,000 raised during recent Tour de OROC was handed over to the committee.

Source Article from http://www.dailyliberal.com.au/story/1909246/childcare-fears/?src=rss
CHILDCARE FEARS
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カテゴリー: Childcare   パーマリンク

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