Professional opinions ignored by councillors: proponents

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The Mackenzies then sought a review of the refusal at the SAT, which upheld the appeal and granted approval.

The plan was the centre of debate among local residents, with a petition supporting the centre tabled to council and 32 submissions objecting to the proposal.

Mrs Mackenzie said she thought concerns from neighbours were the real reason behind the council’s refusal.

“We think it was because of pressure from the neighbours on the councillors that it was rejected,” she said.

“When the neighbours were concerned about the noise of the children, we got an acoustic report done that showed the ambient noise in the area was louder than noise children could make.

“There were so many professional opinions that had approved it, including the City’s planners.”

The Mackenzies were 60sq m short of the recommended block size but had accounted for that in other ways.

“The building is two storeys and there will only be 35 children; most child care centres allow 70 children,” Mrs Mackenzie said.

“We’ve got double the amount of space we need inside and ample space outside.”

Mr Povey said an independent planning consultant was engaged in the mediation process and recommended an amended proposal of the childcare centre be approved.

Mr Mackenzie said councillors ignored the recommendations of approval from experts.

“They are happy to spend money on a mediation process and have ignored all the professional advice and wasted council’s money,” he said.

“I don’t understand how they can justify that.”

Mrs Mackenzie said it had always been a dream of hers to open an early learning centre and was excited to be building in a month’s time.

“Carine is a beautiful suburb and I’ve had great feedback from parents in the area; we’re hoping to open this time next year.”