DERRICK Ernst Neighbourhood Centre was officially opened this month, with a crowd paying respect to the centre’s namesake who sadly passed away last month.
Bayswater Childcare Association spent $830,000 to upgrade the old West Morley Pre-Primary site, after the centre was forced to leave its Morley Galleria premises to make way for an Aldi discount supermarket.
Centre manager Ann Mills and Bayswater Mayor Barry McKenna made speeches, while Mr Ernst’s sons Derrick and Jeff represented the family.
Ms Mills said Mr Ernst volunteered as secretary-treasurer for 25 years and established reserves to help the association long-term.
“He took the association from being financially not very viable, on the point of collapse… If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have this building,” he said.
Vicinity Centres and Morley Galleria gave the centre two extra months before had they to relocate after negotiations with the City of Bayswater.
They the new Derrick Ernst Neighbourhood Centre opened July 11 and spent just over a week with no premises.
The centre features a babies’ room, sleep room, toddlers’ room, outdoor play areas, staff room and a community room to host playgroup and courses.
Centre users, children, staff, politicians and City of Bayswater councillors were among some 150 attendees at the opening.