Decision on child care centre deferred

Warilla Child Care Centre could close following changes to the lease agreement with NSW Housing. Picture Eliza Winkler

Warilla Child Care Centre could close following changes to the lease agreement with NSW Housing. Picture Eliza Winkler

A DECISION to determine the future of Warilla Child Care Centre has been put on hold.

At Tuesday night's Shellharbour City Council meeting councillors moved to defer the matter for eight weeks pending further community consultation and to look at alternatives.

The operation of the childcare facility came into question following changes to the lease agreement with Housing NSW, to increase the rent from a $1 a year to $40,000.

Eleven parents spoke against the potential closure of the centre, following a council report recommending that if an alternate provider could not be found to operate the centre, that council would close the long day service.

Despite the council report stating that 32 other long-day care centres were available in the area, some of the parents were brought to tears explaining the lack of vacancies.

One parent, Marisa Wheatley said without the service, she could lose her job because no other service offers childcare during the hours she works.

Another parent, Janelle Cuzen said the low socioeconomic suburb could “not handle the loss of service” and the workers had become part of her family.

Councillor Kellie Marsh moved to defer the motion and further investigate alternatives.

“$40,000 is all we need to pay and council just need to suck it up and absorb the costs,” she said.

Several councillors expressed concerns about the state of the building saying that it would need to be redeveloped, which would come at a cost to the community.  

Councillor Paul Rankin said the daily cost could increase to $90 a day if it were to remain in operation, making it the most expensive child care in the area.

Cr Helen Stewart suggested building a childcare facility at the proposed site of the new Warilla community library.  

Mayor Marianne Saliba said there were a number of issues with the future of the service and no matter what happens the council would “hit a brick wall”. 

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