A PROPOSED expansion to Goodstart Early Learning Myaree has drawn the ire of parents who are concerned about dangerous increases to traffic in the centre carpark and decreased standards of care for their children.
Goodstart’s property owner lodged a development application proposing to more than double the size of the centre from 41 children to 100 on March 21.
Mum of two Keryl Cromarty, who has collected more than 50 signatures for a petition opposing the development, said parents only learned of the proposal when City of Melville put up a sign advertising the plan earlier this month.
“We managed to get a 52-signature petition organised at the last minute because we only found out about the plan two weeks before council submissions were due,” she said.
“Specifically we are concerned about the lack of parking spaces that the proposed expanded day care centre will have, which is under the City of Melville’s required minimum.”
The proposal includes provision for 18 parking bays, just five more than those currently available despite the centre more than doubling in size.
“There are already traffic issues during drop-off and pick-up right now, both in the carpark itself and on North Lake Road.
“You have cars idling in the parking lot and the turning circles are really tight, so there is a real danger of an accident or a child getting hit.”
Fellow mum Kate Zappa said expanding the centre would result in the loss of its high quality, community-focused environment and labelled Goodstart’s claims that the expansion came in response to local demand a “blatant lie”.
“The local demand is actually for centres of this size,” she said.
“You can ring around and everywhere with 50-plus places has availability right now. There is ample availability.
“It is the smaller centres like this one that have waiting lists because that is what parents want.”
Both Mrs Cromarty and Ms Zappa said their anger was compounded by the fact Goodstart did not inform parents of its plans until a “completely inadequate” letter that was distributed last Monday.
Goodstart Early Learning WA state manager Todd Dawson said that development application had been submitted by the centre’s landlord and that confidentially and ongoing discussions with the applicant had prevented communication with families until last week.
“We prioritise transparency including a ‘no surprises’ approach with our family network and we are now openly sharing information about the redevelopment and encouraging families to share feedback with us,” he said.
“The carpark will be expanded to meet the local council car parking regulatory requirements.
“We are listening to our families’ concerns regarding the use of the carpark during peak times of children drop offs and collection and we are committed to ensuring final decisions made around carparking support its safe use among our families, children and staff.”
He also said once the expansion was completed, additional educators would be employed to ensure the continued delivery of high quality early learning and care at the centre.
City of Melville chief executive Shayne Silcox said the proposal remained under assessment and it was too early to determine whether it would be referred to council for approval.
“The City will take into consideration the access and egress for vehicles, as well as the level of car parking provision proposed.”
Mr Dawson will host an information session for parents at the centre from 6.30pm on Monday, May 30.