Mothers in arms
PLANS to convert a portion of a child care facility into a seven-days-a-week bulk-billing medical facility have upset some parents who said they would move their children out of the centre if the conversion took place.
The licensee of Kangabunnaby's Childcare Centre in Yamba has lodged a development application with the Clarence Valley Council to have 150 square metres of its existing premises converted into three medical consulting rooms after she was approached by a medical group to open a 'desperately needed medical facility'.
However, some parents claimed the combination of childcare facility and medical centre was a bad idea, exposing the children to airborne viruses as well as visual exposure to sick and injured patients coming to and leaving the premises all day.
Trudy Brown's four-year-old son would be withdrawn from Kangabunnaby's if the DA was approved - a move Ms Brown was not happy about.
“He is happy and settled there and has friends but I would definitely take him out,” she said.
“It is our responsibility to speak for the children.”
She said she had taken a petition to residents on Yamba Road about the proposal and had lodged a submission with council.
If passed, Kangabunnaby's would change from a 90-child facility down to one that caters for 54 children, with a total of 12 car spaces for staff and parents; and three consulting suites that shared nine car spaces plus two disabled car spaces.
While the entrances to Kangabunnaby's and the medical centre would be in close proximity, landscaping and fencing would be included in the design.
Additional walls to sound-proof the medical centre would be built and any windows from the medical centre to the playground would be removed.
“It's great for children to see what's going on out in the world, but not all day every day,” Ms Brown said.
While both Ms Brown and Ms McGowan agreed that Yamba needed another medical facility they argued the cul-de-sac was already pushed for space and parents already had difficulty finding a car park in the limited spaces.
They raised concerns also of police and ambulance cars using any available space, either on or off the road to access patients, in full view of the children's playground and of hygiene issues.
“Who is going to clean up the cigarette butts and vomit in the car park?,” Ms Brown said.
She said her son had been spoken to through the fence from people walking past on Yamba Road and said there was nothing to stop sick patients doing the same walking in to the medical centre.
Mayor Richie Williamson said it was too early to make a comment on the development application and said submissions to council closed this Friday.
The NSW Department of Community Services (DoCS) has no jurisdiction over the licensing of a medical centre or over a council's decision making process when considering a development application and is only responsible for the licensing of children's services.
If there was a genuine cause for concern that the location of the medical centre could impact on the children's services licensee meeting their responsibilities for the children's service, then the department may become involved.