Coastal Family Day Care faces uncertain future in the lead up to Christmas
Coastal Family Day Care’s Upper Burnie centre, in Tasmania’s north-west, is facing an uncertain future with its bi-monthly lease likely to end next year.
Despite searching for a new venue from which to operate for the past 12 months, the provider has been unsuccessful and is facing closure, which would compromise around 30 families.
Mel Woodiwiss is one of the parents who would be affected by the closure, and shared her story with The ABC.
“I feel quite uneasy about what’s to come,” she said.
“I don’t think I’d have any luck finding another spot if this were to close down.”
Ms Woodiwiss works part time, and says that ceasing work to take care of her son is not an option given the rising cost of living.
Fellow parent Uma Sriharsha is concerned about the language development of daughter Jhanvi, who is immersed in English language learning while attending the service, and in Kannada language at home.
Since attending the service, Ms Sriharsha shared, Jhanvi has flourished, becoming more confident and speaking much more fluent English.
Without attending care, she worries that Jhanvi’s linguistic skills and social and emotional development will be stunted.
For Coastal Family Day Care’s Upper Burnie centre program manager and nominated supervisor Nicole Walters the situation is particularly frustrating given the service has the staff to take on double the children, and to ease the waitlist of 300 across the Coastal Family Day Care’s multiple services in the area.
“When families call and they’re crying out for care, we want to help, and potentially, if we had a bigger space, we could be helping,” she told The ABC.
In the search for new premises the provider has encountered reluctance from landlords who are concerned about the amount of modifications needed including children’s toilets and hand basins, and outdoor play spaces.
Despite tracking down landlords of empty venues and talking to local, state and federal governments, the education department and private organisations Ms Walters said the service “has found a lot of pointing in other directions and passing the buck.”
“We’ve gone around a number of times, it feels a little bit like nobody can help us.”
Burnie City Council general manager Simon Overland said the council would continue having discussions with the service and consider its needs against available council premises.