Though the applicant has lodged amended plans, the critical safety issues have still not been addressed and are the same as before.
The development is not compliant: never has been and never will.
The best way is to let your concerns be known is to email the Council at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: Please ensure you do not include your original signature, phone numbers and physical address (suburb is enough) as Council will publish them on their website with no regard for your privacy.
And because we live in a democracy, you can also contact each of the 15 Councillors to express your views. After all they are the ones who have to make the decision as to whether a child care centre should be built at this dangerous location.
This link goes to a sample letter to help get you started
It is just plain wrong to have 80 precious lives playing in front of a four-lane roundabout on a state highway carrying over 20,000 cars and trucks each day.
Councillors listened to the community in December and have voted to defer any approval of the dangerous child care centre on the roundabout of the Central Coast Highway at Wamberal.
They also instructed Council staff to address the incredibly dangerous proposal including the unlawful driveway access.
As part of the process, the Councillors instructed that the application be re-opened for public submissions. Why? Because the Council report was inadequate and ignored:
- The Australian code for addressing risk and hazards – ignored
- The formal Local Area Traffic Management plan – ignored
- The Local Environment plan preventing child care centres at intersections – ignored
- A precedent form the the Land and Environment Court – ignored.
- State planning guidelines – ignored.
Other Councils ban new child care centres at intersections. Why is this Council different?
These are the issues
Non-compliance with Council planning controls
You are required to comply with Development Control Plans when you want to build or change something on your property. Development Control plans cover a lot of things like distances from boundaries so you don’t interfere with your neighbours’ rights, not being able to run a brothel next to a school etc.
Councils Development Control Plans clearly state that a child care centre:
- Must not be on an intersection – and this proposal is dump one on a major roundabout on a classified “State Highway”.
- Must have separate entry and exits.
- Must have be located set distances from boundaries.
- Must provide a minimum of 7 square metres of space for each child.
Now every other citizen is required to comply with Development Control Plans so why is Council bending over backwards to give a special exemption for this one development when it:
- Is on an intersection.
- Does not have separate entry and exits – cars must enter and exit using the same driveway.
- Is not the correct distance from boundaries.
- Does not provide 7 square metres of space for each child.
There is no turning bay.
Cars have to queue up to do a back and forward shuffle creating an unacceptable risk of children being hurt.
Non-compliance with State planning controls
NSW State Planning documents state that child care centres should not be located on major/busy roadways. This site is on the:
- Central Coast Highway with over 20,000 cars speeding through it every day
- Old Gosford Road a black spot with 2,200 cars per day blind spots.
- State Planning state that child care centres should not be located on a corner. This site is on the corner of a large roundabout on a “State Highway”.
Would you ever want to fly in a passenger jet that is ‘mostly compliant’ with safety standards? Then why expect children to accept a lower safety standard than everyone else?
There is a national standard for managing safety risks. It is called the Code of Practice for Managing Risks.
On page 13, it mandates that you must eliminate a hazard wherever possible.
That is, you must never knowingly create a risk and then rely totally on lower grade controls to prevent an incident, injury or death like signs or a fence.
A few minor changes cannot take away or address the risks. How could Council get it so fundamentally wrong?
Yet the most effective way of eliminating the risk has not even be considered by Council: that is to simply not put a child care centre at this dangerous location especially when the children’s playground will directly face the intersection of a major state highway.
Incredulously, Council has not conducted a risk assessment.
What does the Daily Telegraph say
The Chief Reporter for Daily Telegraph, Janet Fife-Yeomans, the Australian Child Care Alliance, Child care centre owners and child rights lawyers have been pushing to force Councils to make safety a mandatory consideration. Read Janet’s great article outlining the key issues.
What does the Land and Environment Court have to say
Judge Tim Moore of the NSW Land and Environment Court took on the vested interests of Scott’s College in Sydney who wanted to develop a child care centre regardless of the risks to child safety. In the famous 2014 case, Judge Moore stated:
“I am satisfied that refusing the application is a proportionate response in taking a preventative approach… if a pedestrian (particularly a child pedestrian) is hit by a car as a consequence of the dangerous and risky behaviours earlier discussed, the outcome is potentially devastating injury or even death;”
The RMS, not Council, has recommended a guard rail along the Central Coast Highway. Now as everyone knows, guardrails are no guarantee of safety are only moderately successful with shallow glancing blows. This video shows what happens when a medium size bus hits a double guardrail and a concrete barrier at a sharper angle!
Guardrails are an ineffective “band aid” solution to problem that should simply not be approved in the first place.
There is no enforceable mandatory developer contribution on this site so it appears that rate payers will fund the cost of any safety measures for a development that should never be built.
It’s at a known black spot
Old Gosford Road is an identified black spot with blinding sun in the afternoons.
And the traffic safety measures agreed to by Council, RMS and the community in 2012 required because RMS built this roundabout in contravention of the Australian Standards still have not been completed.
Car park would be a small underground ‘cavern’ relying on artificial lighting creating numerous visibility issues making it more difficult to see children and other moving vehicles. It creates unacceptable risks in the event of a power failure as well as fire safety concerns.
Disabled access is via an electric lift which means there is no disabled access in a fire or power outage.
Cars can’t see the driveway
The line of sight to the driveway is around 42 metres. Council are choosing to include the distance around the sharp 90-degree corner to the roundabout. Council are claiming it’s OK because the distance is 69.5 metres and the standard only requires 69 metres. They haven’t even considered the blind corner. So, with a short line of sight and a 0.5m buffer (the width of a straw hat), there is not the slightest allowance given to driver error.
They are desperately clutching at straws to rubber stamp obviously flawed proposal.
Other issues – if that wasn’t enough
- Driveway located at a busy bus stop which block the views of drivers exiting the centre.
- All street parking is going to be removed from vicinity of driveway, which will cause significant displacement to other streets with similar issues.
- Garbage removal area next to driveway and bus stop. Last week a grandmother was killed by garbage truck.
- Excess supply of child care facilities in the area.
- The traffic report refers to tables that do not exist, so how can it be relied upon
- New state planning regulations implemented in August 2017 must be addressed.
The line of sight is so bad that parked cars are frequently side swiped on Old Gosford Road.
What happens in other states?
They are stopping child care centres from being built at dangerous locations.
In Western Australia, child care centres must not be located where access is from a major road or in close proximity to a major intersection.
In the ACT, child care centres must be separated from safety hazards such as busy roads.
Even the NSW Government recommends that child care centres be separated from major roads.
What do other Councils do?
Responsible Councils are refusing to place child care centres opposite intersections.
Manly Council’s manager of youth and children’s services Sue Verhoek said it was better to be safe than sorry when protecting children.
“We don’t want the worst to happen. We have been through that experience and perhaps that’s why we are more cautious,” she said.
Why is this Council completely out of step with every other Council and jurisdiction?
13 major crashes into child care centres
Below are just some of the recently reported cases of serious crashes at child care centres.
- April 6, 2017 Truck smashes into child care centre –
- And on August 11, 2015 Car crashes into child care centre
- And on January 12, 2016 Miracle escape as car crashes into child care centre
- And on July 20, 2017 Children and staff left “shaken up” after car crashes into Preschool
- And on December 16, 2003 Car smashes into child care centre
- And on 21 February, 2016 Man dies after crashing into child care centre
- And on October 26, 2011 Lucky escape as car crashes into child care centre
- And on June 12 2017 Channel Nine NRL commentator investigated over car crash
- And on May 2014 Little Zahlia slides away from trauma of car crash
- And on February 3, 2012 Several injured after car crashes at Mansfield Primary school
- And on February 9, 2017 Car ploughs through childcare centre in Macquarie Park
- And on November 7, 2017‘Scene of carnage’: Two children killed after car crashes into classroom
“They don’t look after the safety of the children. It’s a big issue and we are going to have more Sophie Delezio’s. She deserves more than that.”
Will the new Councillors vote to defend child safety again?
Categories: Child care centre