After years of waiting, Boggabri’s vision of an early learning centre may finally be realised.
A development application for a long day care centre was lodged with Narrabri Shire Council for Idemitsu’s Boggabri Coal on January 11.
The DA, which is undergoing assessment, could cater for up to 32 children.
Boggabri Coal is proposing to build the 397 square metre centre on the corner of Brent and Oakham streets and cater for 0-5; and, potentially, ages 6-12 through after-school or before-school care.
“This initiative is strongly supported by Boggabri Coal and aligns with the company’s policy of encouraging its workforce to live locally,” an Idemitsu spokesperson said.
It’s welcome news for Boggabri Business and Community Progress Association’s Cath Collyer, who said she had “continually lobbied, pushed and tried to get childcare in Boggabri” since 2012.
Ms Collyer said a lack of childcare was an ongoing issue for locals and also deterred young families from moving to the area.
“The issue we had was if people were interested in moving to town and had young children and were working … they couldn’t because there was nowhere for their children to go,” she said.
“It’s been a passion of mine to have that facility for the community because it’s so important – not just for the working families, for the children themselves.
“It’s so important that children receive early education.”
She said a consultant was employed to carry out a feasibility study on the need for a centre in the town.
The report stated there was “quantifiable demand” and current care options were “not sufficient to meet this demand, in particular for children aged 0-2”.
it’s so important – not just for the working families, for the children themselves.Cath Collyer, Boggabri Business and Community Progress Association
As a result of the study, Ms Collyer said Idemitsu made a commitment to strive for a centre.
“Idemitsu stepped up and have come to the party and have agreed to build the childcare centre, and they looked at the needs and the benefits not just to the community but also their staff,” Ms Collyer said.
The Idemitsu spokesperson said that, as a result of discussions between Boggabri Coal, Narrabri Shire Council and community representatives, a concept plan for a centre was “developed and agreed, which proposed Boggabri Coal construct the childcare facility on company-owned land”.
The spokesperson said Boggabri Coal then worked with a Tamworth architectural firm, lodged a development application with the council, and consulted childcare facility providers to “determine the local capability to have an independent organisation to run the facility once it had been completed”.
“It is expected that construction of the facility will commence this year,” the spokesperson said.
“An opening date will depend on the timing of planning approvals and the finalisation of operational details with key stakeholders.”
Progress association president John Shaw said “the whole community is totally supportive” of a childcare centre.
“It would be the absolute making of Boggabri as far as the workforce goes,” he said.
“It would give longevity to the population and be a wonderful boost to the community.”