News

Landlocked - New centre the only option to increase care, jobs

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May 31, 2018

Mayor Ruth McRae said more detailed research and consultation on the best location would be pursued once funding is secured.

Murrumbidgee Council has committed to increasing local employment and child care spaces through the development of a Jerilderie long day care centre.

The pending development, for which council is awaiting funding approval, has the potential to create four permanent childcare jobs and many more in construction.

Concept designs for the project also indicates childcare spaces in Jerilderie will be doubled to 40 when the development replaces the existing Jerilderie Preschool.

Three potential sites for the new development have been earmarked by the council, but are yet to be assessed in detail.

Mayor Ruth McRae said more detailed research and consultation on the best location would be pursued once funding is secured.

She said if council’s Stronger Country Communities round two funding application is not successful, other avenues would be explored.

‘‘At this stage we’ve agreed to allocate land for the project if it receives funding under the Stronger Country Communities fund (SCC).

‘‘If it doesn’t receive funding we’ll still seek ways to ensure that Long Day Care does come to fruition as it’s fully backed by the council.

‘‘It’s a very expensive project so we’re working with (politicians) Greg Aplin, Sussan Ley and Austin Evans to see how this project can be funded both through SCC and other grants,’’ Cr McRae said.

One of the three sites being considered for the development is the old tennis courts on the corner of Kennedy and Mahonga Sts, which is the preferred site for preschool director Rebekah Salter.

Others being considered include land at the corner of Bolton and Jerilderie Sts, and Lot 67 and 68 in Argoon Ave.

The projected cost for the long day care centre development is $800,000.

It was listed as a council priority for SCC funding due to the support it received from the community.

At its current location on the Newell Highway, Jerilderie Preschool is landlocked and unable to expand.

It shares the block with Murrumbidgee Local Health District, and Miss Salter said previous requests to MLHD about expanding have so far gone unanswered.

She said previous investigations by the preschool found a Mahonga St location for an expanded centre would be most suitable.

‘‘We drew up plans and found having the entrance on Mahonga St would work really well,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s also close to where we are now, and more central in Jerilderie.

‘‘Even if we don’t receive money from the government, we’ll start applying for new grants.

‘‘This will happen as it’s strongly backed in the community as we have quite a few families in the town.

‘‘We’ve consulted with young mothers who have told us it’s a struggle to go back into the workforce unless there is care.’’

Jerilderie Preschool currently accepts children aged three to five, and is open from 9am to 3pm on weekdays.

The new centre would take children aged zero to five, and would operate from 8am to 5pm.

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