I support the retention and upgrade of the existing kindergartens in Altona and Seaholme.  They are wonderful kindergartens that serve our community well and are much loved by many of us.  Sadly, council has previously resolved to build an “Early Years Hub” in Altona and to make it viable they closed the Altona West Kindergarten last year (while I was not part of the council).  Now council officers have recommended that we close a further two kindergartens in Altona – the Altona Kindergarten on Blyth St and the Somers Parade Kindergarten.  Here was the recommendation from the council officers:

Kindergarten Officer Recommendation

 

The community’s response was wonderful, and within days the kindergartens had met with me and obtained 848 signatures on a petition and a joint letter to the council.  It was also great to see so many parents and concerned residents attend the council meeting to show their opposition to the council officer recommendation to close the kindergartens.

Kindergarten at HBCC

 

Families at the Council Meeting where the recommendation to close two local kindergartens was debated.

I was pleased to put up an alternate motion at the meeting which was as follows:

Kindergarten Resolution

As you can see, my motion to consider this matter on 12 September following a further report was accepted, but not my attempt to not engage a builder for the Hub.  The CEO explained we can seek a builder via tender but we still have the option not to award the tender to anyone.

The future of the kindergartens is sadly still not secure.  I encourage families and the local community to support our local kindergartens and to get in touch with them about ways you can support the campaign to save them.

 

Altona kindergarten closures on hold

Two Altona kindergartens have won a reprieve after Hobsons Bay council delayed a decision on their closure.

Close to 100 protesters, some holding signs saying “Save Altona’s kinders”, attended last week’s council meeting at which the issue was being heard for the third time.

A council officer’s report recommended that Altona Kindergarten and Somers Parade Kindergarten be closed due to a new hub being built at Altona P-9 College.

Cr Tony Briffa tabled a petition with 848 signatures and a joint letter signed by committee of management heads of both kindergartens, pleading for them to remain open.

The petition stated in part: “These kinders have been part of the community for more than 50 years. They exceed national quality standards, are financially viable and are loved by the community and our children.”

Cr Michael Grech told last week’s meeting it was important to keep community kindergartens.

“I went to Russell Court kinder in Altona Meadows and, funnily enough, so did my wife,” he said.

“This year we were lucky enough to have our three-year-old son follow in our footsteps. At the moment, we can only get him in one day a week due to demand. I feel by destroying our centres, we are destroying our communities.”

The state government has contributed $1.6 million for a new early-years hub to be built on the Altona P-9 College site, with the council to contribute about $5.6 million. The hub would have 198 places.

Last week’s meeting heard that it would cost $3.8 million to upgrade the existing kindergartens.

The council voted to consider a further report on early years services in Altona and Seaholme and the matters raised in the petition and joint letter at its September 12 meeting.

 

Budget passed but hub could spell end for kinders

Budget passed but hub could spell end for kinders JULY 4, 2017 2:00 PM BY GOYA DMYTRYSHCHAK

Hobsons Bay council has adopted its annual budget, despite concern that allocating $4.59million to build an Altona early years hub will seal the fate of local kindergartens.

The budget includes more than $34million on capital works, $118million on operational expenditure and an average rate increase of 2 per cent.

It includes $7.4million for open space, $6.7million for roads, $3.8million for footpaths and bike paths, $2.7million for plant and equipment and $11.4million for buildings, with the hub being the most expensive project.

Councillors Tony Briffa and Michael Grech said while they supported the overall budget, the funding allocation for a new hub on the Altona P-9 College site meant supporting the closure of Altona and Seaholme kindergartens.

Cr Briffa told last week’s council meeting that the hub and the future of the kindergartens were intertwined.

“They are inextricably linked and we are making an allocation of $4.59million for a hub that is going to make local kindergartens unviable, so that is definitely my consideration,” Cr Briffa said.

Cr Grech asked if the previous council, which did not include himself or Cr Briffa, had known local kinders would be closed when it voted in favour of a new hub.

“When council resolved on the 26th of April, 2016, to construct a hub, were council fully informed that in order to make a hub viable, kindergartens would have to be closed?”

Community wellbeing director Peter Hunt replied that the councillors had been briefed a number of times.

“I think we had three fortnights in a row when we had briefings to the council so the councillors were well aware of the challenges posed by a small catchment and an oversupply of places.”

Cr Briffa moved a budget amendment to allocate but not use the money for the hub until the future of the kindergartens was decided, but this only gained support from Cr Grech.

The council meeting heard that a report on kinders in the precinct would come to the council in September and a contract to build the hub was expected to be awarded in October.

Hobsons Bay council has adopted its annual budget, despite concern that allocating $4.59million to build an Altona early years hub will seal the fate of local kindergartens.

The budget includes more than $34million on capital works, $118million on operational expenditure and an average rate increase of 2 per cent. It includes $7.4million for open space, $6.7million for roads, $3.8million for footpaths and bike paths, $2.7million for plant and equipment and $11.4million for buildings, with the hub being the most expensive project.

Councillors Tony Briffa and Michael Grech said while they supported the overall budget, the funding allocation for a new hub on the Altona P-9 College site meant supporting the closure of Altona and Seaholme kindergartens.

Cr Briffa told last week’s council meeting that the hub and the future of the kindergartens were intertwined. “They are inextricably linked and we are making an allocation of $4.59million for a hub that is going to make local kindergartens unviable, so that is definitely my consideration,” Cr Briffa said.

Cr Grech asked if the previous council, which did not include himself or Cr Briffa, had known local kinders would be closed when it voted in favour of a new hub. “When council resolved on the 26th of April, 2016, to construct a hub, were council fully informed that in order to make a hub viable, kindergartens would have to be closed?” Community wellbeing director Peter Hunt replied that the councillors had been briefed a number of times. “I think we had three fortnights in a row when we had briefings to the council so the councillors were well aware of the challenges posed by a small catchment and an oversupply of places.”

Cr Briffa moved a budget amendment to allocate but not use the money for the hub until the future of the kindergartens was decided, but this only gained support from Cr Grech.

The council meeting heard that a report on kinders in the precinct would come to the council in September and a contract to build the hub was expected to be awarded in October.

 

 

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