City of Geelong reviews nine childcare planning permits ahead of projected population growth
The City of Greater Geelong is currently assessing nine planning permits for the construction of childcare centres in the region, alongside seven permits already granted in 2018.
Acting Director of Planning and Development for the City of Greater Geelong, Joanne Van Slageren noted, in conversation with the Geelong Advertiser, that amongst the applications is a proposal for a 130-place childcare centre co-located with a medical centre in Lara, with an estimated development cost of $1.9 million.
Population growth in Geelong and surrounding areas for children 0 to 4 years of age is anticipated to expand by 3,297 between 2016 and 2036. In the past four years, Barwon Health, has reported a 7.2 per cent rise in birth rates, reflecting the strong need for additional childcare services in the region.
There is growth, year-on-year, in planning permit applications to council from childcare providers, the bulk of whom are private services. In 2017, eleven applications were approved by council, an increase of 3 from 2016, where eight permits were granted.
In discussion with the Geelong Advertiser, Joanne Van Slageren indicated that the city currently operates 12 childcare centres in Greater Geelong, including long day care centres in Corio, Drysdale, Newtown, Whittington, Leopold, Ocean Grove and Belmont, with kindergarten programs for three and four year olds at Barwon Heads, Grovedale, Norlane, Corio and Thomson.
The new centres are being funded by both Geelong council and the Victorian Government, and will provide a combination of long day care places, kindergarten places, maternal and child health services, and community spaces.