CITY of Kalamunda councillors voted unanimously to allow retrospective approval for a child care centre in Lesmurdie to increase the number of children it looks after as well as its hours of operation.
Pachamama Child Care Centre, which operates centres on Coolinga Road and Marri Crescent, sought the retrospective planning approval to operate from 6.30am-6.30pm Monday to Friday with a maximum of 43 children at its Coolinga service and 69 children at its Marri Crescent facility.
A report by City officers recommended the applications be refused due to the location and scale of the land use over the sites, parking deficiencies and the potential impact on amenity created by an intensified land use within a residential area.
Pachamama director Kristen McPhail said she was humbled and touched by the outpouring of support by the community.
“We have been properly operating under state licenses for the past four years, however we were unaware that we needed to alter our local government approval to cater for more children,” she said.
“Our parents gave tear jerking deputations to council on Monday night expressing how Pachamama has become a valued and treasured part of their lives.
“I apologise for my mistake in not understanding the relevant local laws and the angst felt by parents at the possibility of losing their care.”
The City received 251 submissions on the issue which included 10 objections and 241 letters of support.
Resident Peter O’Malley said the council had ignored town planning laws and had been swayed by the emotional plea of mothers desperate for more child care options.
“It appears the commercialisation of residential areas to the detriment of existing residents is accepted provided it is a populous decision,” he said.
“Residents already have a long history of suffering the inconvenience of living adjacent to a large scale child care premise with inadequate parking, operating with little regard for the amenity of surrounding residents.”
Kalamunda Ratepayers Association secretary and Coolinga Rd resident Ron Davey spoke against the approval.
“It is the residents who will be most impacted by this decision now and into the future,” he said.
“What is to prevent the proprietors from breaking their conditions again?”