Kidz Galore seeks Attorney General intervention to stay on site as park pressure grows
The City of Vincent is seeking intervention from West Australia Attorney General John Quigley to support a resolution that would delay the removal of early childhood education and care (ECEC) service Kidz Galore Pty Ltd from its North Perth home to make way for parkland at Haynes Street Reserve.
A special meeting held last week saw universal agreement from councillors to a range of motions, including seeking approval from Mr Quigley for a transition plan for the childcare service which caters for infants from 6 weeks to two-and-a-half years old, local news source Guardian Express reported.
The site on which Kidz Galore North Perth sits, at 15 Haynes St, was gifted to the City of Perth in 1927 by James Ewart. The City of Perth used the land as a park, and in 1941 registered a caveat on the Title to make sure it was always used as such. When the land was given to the City of Vincent in 1995, it had already been built on, and was no longer being used as a park.
As a result of the City of Vincent’s 2019 public open space strategy, it “investigated and uncovered” the history of the land at 15 Haynes St, deciding to “respect the intended use of 15 Haynes Street, comply with the caveat, and convert the site into public open space again.”
In a public consultation document about the proposed changes, the City of Vincent said “The City currently leases the land to community services which are valued by the community and the City, including a childcare centre, a playgroup and a dentist.”
Consultation about the best way to use 15 Haynes St closed in November 2019, and the City plans to go ahead with the Haynes Street Reserve Development Plan and turn the space into public land, complete with grassed areas, paths, seating, lighting and natural shade.
Although North Perth Playgroup Inc. and the Dental Health Service have no plans to extend their leases when they expire in 2021, Kidz Galore Pty Ltd wants to continue operating and allow all of the children who are currently enrolled not to have any disruptions.
A five-year transition plan for Kidz Galore Pty Ltd has been developed by the City, which would give the owners until December 2025 to move to a new site in Vincent, Guardian Express noted.
City of Vincent Mayor Emma Cole said the situation was “one of the most difficult issues I’ve had to face as mayor and in my last six years on council. It’s not easy to go to a well-loved, equality childcare centre, to talk to parents and families and tell them that they might not have a future on site – it’s incredibly difficult.”
She told the Guardian Express that she was hopeful the parents would be appreciative of the Council’s efforts to find a workable solution.
If approval is granted by Mr Quigley to extend the lease of Kidz Galore Pty Ltd, the development plan will be advertised for further community consultation.