By Luke Voogt
A proposed child care centre in a new Lara estate is “an accident waiting to happen”, according to a couple building across the road.
Point Cook kindergarten worker Ingrid Rutherford, who is building a home neighbouring the proposed site, described the location as “dangerous“.
“I’m not sure why they’re putting it in the middle of a residential area with tiny roads,” the 45-year-old said.
“It’s about the safety of the children – there’s just no room for 125 parents to come in and pick up their children each day.”
The proposed child care centre, located in a residential section of the Manzeene Village development, should instead be built next to the estate’s proposed school or commercial area, Mrs Rutherford said.
“Just put it where it’s (suited) rather than an unsafe location where children are going to get hurt.”
Residents living in the estate were blind-sighted about the centre due to a Geelong council land designation, Mrs Rutherford said.
The land fell under a development plan overlay, meaning the childcare centre would not be publically advertised and residents were unable to object, she said.
“You’ll never find it,” she said.
“No one will ever know about it until the concrete slab goes down and the thing has been built.”
Mrs Rutherford “accidentally“ discovered the proposal for the childcare centre after speaking to a friend.
Her husband David, 45, said council had incorrectly designated the land.
Victorian Planning Practice Note 23 states that development planning overlays should “contain no existing residential population and (should) not adjoin established residential areas”.
Residents already lived within the area covered by the overlay and in the lands adjoining it, which contravened the planning practice, Mr Rutherford said.
“(Council) don’t have to tell anyone and you can’t appeal it either – we can’t put an opinion forward, we can’t do anything.”
He said his requests for council to remove the designation had fallen on “deaf ears”.
“We’re not against childcare centres, but when you look at their own rules, it should go next to community centres, schools or churches.”
Melbourne-based company Dacland is the company behind Manzeene Village but does not own the proposed child care site.
The company’s Marc Akkerman described the proposed centre as a great amenity for local residents, but declined to comment on the location.
“It is the responsibility of the local council to determine congestion, planning regulations, et cetera,” he said.
“Unfortunately we don’t have any influence over that.”
The planning overlay means residents are unable to formally object to the proposal or appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
In correspondence seen by the Indy, council officers acknowledged residents’ concerns but stated the overlay was the most appropriate designation.
The correspondence indicated no intention to change the designation of the land, but stated council had yet to approve the application for the childcare centre.
The Indy was unable to obtain comment from Winderemere ward councillor Kylie Gryzbek.