Concern over $5m childcare

An illustration of a proposed three-storey childcare centre in Power Road, Doveton.

Ethan Benedicto

A proposal for a 125-place childcare centre that would replace three residential properties in Doveton is set to be decided.

With an estimated cost of $5 million, the three-storey building will replace single-storey houses at 40, 42 and 44 Power Road in Doveton.

Noel Johnston, an 89-year-old pensioner who lives behind the proposed site, had spoken out against the project on behalf of his neighbours, with one of their main concerns being the noise.

Residing on Oleander Street, Mr Johnston lives right across from a playground and is not keen on another behind him.

“There are nine units here who don’t want it, we’re mostly pensioners and none of us want it behind us.

“We’ve already got a playground with kids yelling and screaming, now we’re going to have a centre behind us doing the same thing,” Mr Johnston said.

The proponent Smart Planning and Design outlined in its application document that the childcare centre would be an essential service for the local community.

With the ability to cater for a maximum of 125 children until the age of five, it allows parents an alternative from the other centres as well as employment opportunities.

Traffic was the other factor that Mr Johnston said should be considered, saying that Power Road is “one of the busiest roads in the area”.

“They’re going to build a childcare centre essentially in the middle of it, it’s dangerous for the kids coming in and out.”

While the planning application has asssured there would be on-site car parks, it also highlighted the proximity of public transport routes that would reduce car dependency.

Another concern Mr Johnston raised was the difficulty for those without access to computers to lodge a complaint against the planning application.

“They won’t give us copies because they said to just look at the computers, but we haven’t got computers.

“And when we wanted to know more they asked us to come down to the council, but we’ve got walkers and walking sticks, half of us can’t even walk,” Mr Johnston said.

As it stands, the application’s advertising process was completed on 6 November and is currently waiting for the final outcome.