Childcare plan worries residents

Some residents are concerned about an early childhood learning centre proposed for a quiet St Clair street, but proponents say the centre will be a good neighbour and have only minor effects.

One resident, Grant Hastie, said a resource consent application to establish a centre for 60 children and 10 staff at 10 Hobson St would, if approved, significantly increase traffic flows, and parking problems, as well as creating increased noise and some safety issues in the street.

Mr Hastie said many people in Hobson St, and some others in nearby streets, were ‘‘quite concerned'' about potentially significant changes to the ‘‘very quiet little street'', where residents had made a ‘‘conscious decision'' to live.

Some residents have circulated notices opposing the development, highlighting concerns about an increased noise involving ‘‘both children and cars'' and a possible drop in property values.

‘‘If you want to preserve the quiet community atmosphere we have, then please join us in writing a submission against this resource consent,'' the notice urges.

Some residents have already met to discuss their concerns and a further meeting is planned this week.

The street runs between Norfolk St and Forbury Rd, several blocks west of the Esplanade.
Submissions to the Dunedin City Council on the resource consent application close on June 9.

Tony Stevely said the proposal involved himself, his wife Jackie, and his Auckland-based sister, Susan Stevely-Cole, who had since 1986 established about a dozen early childhood centres in Auckland under the ‘‘Bear Park'' name.

Although the resource consent application was under the name of his sister's Auckland company, Minitor Holdings Ltd, the centre would, in fact, be mainly Dunedin-owned.

Mr Stevely said he and his wife had lived in St Clair for the past 29 years.

His sister, a former Dunedin resident with a teaching qualification from the former Dunedin College of Education, ran several of the Auckland centres herself, with the others operated under a franchise system.

Mr Stevely said he was a former director, corporate services, at the Dunedin college and was also a former manager and licensee of the college early childcare centre.

The proponents of the centre wanted to produce a ‘‘stimulating and positive environment'' for children but were also ‘‘very conscious'' of residents in the street and wanted to be good and considerate neighbours.

The proposal is to establish a facility to care for up to 45 children over 2 years of age and up to 15 aged less than 2.

The centre would operate from 7.30am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. An existing brick-andtile, two-storey building, in the southeastern part of the 1484sq m site would be used to establish the proposed facility by making extensive interior alterations. A 75.5sq m addition to the northern side of the building would accommodate mainly an indoor play area.

An existing two-car garage on the site would be demolished, to create seven car parks, the application said.

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