Closure must be averted
THIS month’s closure of Toodyay’s only day centre for children is a bitter blow for local working families.
The shock announcement that the Great Beginnings day care centre in Settlers Ridge is due to shut on Friday October 11 will make living in Toodyay much harder – if not impossible – for some local parents.
Though Toodyay also offers a limited amount of home-based child care, places are understood to be heavily booked.
For a community like Toodyay, the loss of its only day care centre is akin to the loss of the town’s only bank, supermarket or police station.Read more
This may seem less important to some older residents who form most of the shire’s ageing population but how will local young parents cope with nowhere to leave their children while they work?
Some may find they have no choice but to leave Toodyay while others will find it harder to move here.
Our community’s future depends on more young families coming to Toodyay, not driving them away with a lack of essential support services.
A rescue plan reported on Page 1 needs new statutory approvals that are unlikely to be granted before Great Beginnings shuts its doors and leaves town.
Herald inquiries indicate that the earliest date for a re-opening under new local management is early December.
This will most likely require greater take-up of the current 37 day care places at Great Beginnings, which is reportedly operating at only a third capacity.
It is understood the Perth owner of the land and building – which was leased to multi-national G8 Education – has offered rental assistance in the first year of resumed operation to help ease start-up costs for new local management.
It is understood also that the shire has offered to help with the approvals process needed to enable the centre to reopen.
However, it appears the shire has no money to offer direct financial assistance for this vital community service.
This is hardly surprising considering the shire spent $700,000 on legal fees in the past four years, much of it wasted.
Even a small gesture commensurate with last month’s council decision to give the Toodyay Masonic Lodge a $718 discount on rates and rubbish removal could help.
Our community cannot afford to lose its only day care centre.