Child care centre

Child care centre danger: have your say – again.

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.

Objection letters

The best way is to let your concerns be  known is to email the Council at ask@centralcoast.nsw.gov.au.

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

Objection letter to child care centre at Wamberal – revised DA51671

Background

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?

Its unsafe

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.

Childcare centre danger: Heavy traffic remains free to rush past nearby children

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;”

Read the case that law that Council didn’t include in their report.

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

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.
Old Gosford Road sun glare

Sun glare on Old Gosford Road at 4:30pm. The single non-compliant driveway to the new child care centre is near the tree on the right.

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.

Child care truck crash
The concrete kerb didn’t stop the truck. The stop sign didn’t stop the truck. The power pole didn’t stop the truck. The nature strip didn’t stop the truck. The fence didn’t stop the truck. The playground is where the truck stopped. Burwood Highway, Ferntree Gully, April 6, 2017.
Child care care crash 6

Another amazing miracle no child was hurt. Oakhurst: July 19, 2017

Child care care crash 11

Roundhouse Child Care Centre. Safety barriers were installed afterwards. Sophie Delizio and Molly Wood were critically injured. The centre is now ringed by a crash barrier to protect the children and Manly Council has recently installed concrete barriers outside another preschool centre. Manly: December 16, 2003.

Hear Sophie Delezio’s dad talk about how his family’s life changed forever after child care centre accident

Child care care crash 19

This is why a child care centre should not be at an intersection. A loaded truck crashes into a child care centre at the intersection of Westley Street with the Burwood Highway. Another miracle no one was injured. Burwood Highway, Ferntree Gully, April 6, 2017.

Ferntree gully truck into child care centre 2

Play ground out the front. Facing the traffic. At an intersection with a state highway.  Another miracle no one was injured. Burwood Highway, Ferntree Gully: April 6, 2017.

Child care care crash 4
The driver died after his car crashed into a child care centre and caught fire destroying the Kool Kidz child care centre. Melbourne June 5, 2017.
Child care centre crash one

A learner driver car crashes car into crowded child care centre. Another miracle no one was injured. August 11, 2015.

Child care centre car crash 2

A driver nearly ran down the owner of a child care centre
standing outside her business as his car smashed through a fence only
metres away from where young children were playing. Another miracle no one was injured. Breakfast Point: January 12, 2016.

Child care care crash 12

Just for Kids at Epping is on a main road. The centre’s Director has called for safeguards.
“… all it would take is a kid to slip out the gate and run onto the road”

Sophie Child care care crash

“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.”

Child care care crash 5

Man dies after van hits childcare centre. Auckland:
 February 21, 2016

Child care care crash 13

“The thing with a lot of childcare centres is that they are built on main roads because they are cheaper plots of land” Ron Delezio, Sophie Delizio’s dad.

Ferntree gully truck into child care centre

“There are so many close calls. Unfortunately, ours was not a close call and the people who are giving permission for these centres on busy roads obviously haven’t got kids of their own whose lives are at risk.” Ron Delezio, Sophie Delizio’s dad.

Child care care crash 15

A car crashes through from one side of a playground to the other side at a child care centre at Macquarie Park. Another miracle no one was injured. February 9, 2016

Child care care crash 17

Distraught parents and emergency services personnel care for injured children at the Roundhouse Child Care Centre. Manly, December 16, 2003.

Child care care crash 20

Oakhurst pre-school. Another miracle no one was injured. July 19, 2017.

Child care care crash 19

Child care centre at an intersection with a state highway.  Another miracle no one was injured. Burwood Highway, Ferntree Gully: April 6, 2017.

Child care care crash 18

Pedestrian safety near child care centres is a major issue when they are on a state highway prompting calls for mandatory safety measures to force indifferent Councils to implement safety controls.

Child care care crash 24
Shocking footage shows the car stopped after slamming into a metal pole, as thick white smoke plumes into the air. Macquarie Early Learning Centre: 9 February, 2016.
Child care care crash 21

A man crashed his car into a childcare centre, narrowly avoiding sleeping babies. Melbourne: July 16, 2014.

Child care care crash 10

Two boys were killed and three girls seriously injured after a car smashed into a classroom. Banksia: November 7 2017.

Will the new Councillors vote to defend child safety again?

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