Child-care centre would 'destroy' lifestyles

A planned child-care centre would ''destroy'' the lifestyle of residents living on a quiet Dunedin cul-de-sac, a resource consent hearing heard yesterday.

The public gallery was packed with concerned residents from Hazel Ave, in Caversham, who opposed the planned 100-child-capacity child-care centre in the street.

Developer Simon Eddy, of Eddy AP Ltd, said a ''huge sum'' had been spent to mitigate residents' concerns over traffic and noise from the child-care centre, which he believed had been successful.

Residents of the street strongly disagreed, with more than a dozen of the 24 who made submissions against the proposal indicating they wished to speak at the hearing.

Maureen Brown, like other submitters, characterised Hazel Ave as a ''nice little neighbourhood'' under threat from a large business.

''To have this facility put in the middle of it all would destroy the lifestyle of everybody that lives in that street,'' Mrs Brown said.

The street was a cul-de-sac, which was difficult enough to negotiate as it was. The extra traffic from the centre would only make that worse.

The noise from children would not only be from happy children, but would also be ''screeching'' - which children at a young age were prone to doing.

''I just hope the council be fair and think of the people for a change instead of money-making developers.''

Lawyer Bill Wright, who presented submissions on behalf of two residents, said there had been a ''groundswell'' of opposition to the project.

He also questioned the need for such a facility, saying the applicants had not demonstrated there was a demand for another child-care centre in the area.

Resident John Aarts said he did not believe there was support from a single local resident for the project.

''It is a quiet street. Leave it alone,'' he said.

The noise issue from the proposed development would be multiplied because it was sitting at the bottom of a bowl, which created a natural amphitheatre effect.

This meant the noise would travel upwards to the surrounding houses which overlooked the centre.

He questioned why the objection to consent being granted from the council's environmental health staff, on the grounds of noise issues, had not been followed by the council planner.

He also noted environmental health staff had recommended, if consent for the centre was approved, there should be a condition limiting the centre to 25 children.

Mr Eddy earlier said it had endeavoured to be a ''good and responsive neighbour'' and taken into account residents' concerns when altering the facility's design.

''A huge sum of money has been invested in establishing how we can better the proposal in respect to the submitters' views. I believe we have been successful in this aim.''

The changes included installing acoustic screening to limit the amount of noise leaving the site and changing the orientation of the building.

Traffic engineer Andrew Carr, who was hired by Mr Eddy, acknowledged there would be increased traffic flow from the facility - of up to 140 vehicle movements during peak hours at the start and end of the day - but the increase would be ''well within the road capacity''.

He concluded there were no ''traffic and transportation reasons'' why consent for the project should be declined.

Environmental consultant Louise Taylor, also hired by Mr Eddy, said the effects of the centre would be ''no more than minor'' and the centre would provide significant community benefits.

''A child-care facility includes children as part of the community, enables parents to work and children to learn.

''This facility will specifically provide for the economic, cultural and social wellbeing of the community.''

The committee adjourned yesterday evening.

Hearings committee head Cr Kate Wilson said site visits would be carried out and information gathered before a decision was made.

vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz

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