Council “no option” but to deny child care centre relocation

Published on 29 June 2022

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A request to relocate a child day care centre in South Yunderup to the site of the Austin Cove Baptist College secondary school has been unsuccessful.

The centre is currently located on the temporary primary school site for Austin Cove Baptist College on Inlet Boulevard. The proposed move would have seen both the secondary school and the child day care centre located at the permanent site of the college on California Crescent, something which proponents of the application believed was synergistic.

However, under the Shire’s local planning rules, the California Crescent site is classed as being in a “rural zone” and child day care centres are not a permitted use in such areas. Consequently, and following legal advice provided to the Shire, the Council recognised it did not have discretion within the local planning rules to approve the application.

There is complexity regarding the request because the Austin Cove Baptist College secondary school, although also now located within the same rural zone, was originally approved when educational establishments were not explicitly excluded from rural zones. The rules were amended in 2018 however, prohibiting educational establishments in such areas. The existing college therefore enjoys “non-conforming use rights” as it was approved before the amendments, but that status would not be extended to the child day care centre given the application had been made after the 2018 rule changes.

The public consultation into the application attracted 36 written submissions (with 34 of them in support of the proposal), and a multiple-signature letter with 46 signatures also in support of the proposal.

Shire President Cr David Bolt said “there is clearly a lot of public interest in the future location of the child day care centre currently on Inlet Boulevard”.

“The Council recognises that the decision will be disappointing to parents and residents who were supportive of the proposed move. However, we do of course have a duty to abide by the local laws and regulations”.

“The Council discussed at length what it could and could not do under the current planning rules, and we recognised that the most effective way forward would be to investigate the feasibility of rezoning the California Crescent location to “special use”.

A rezoning amendment would be advertised publicly allowing anyone the opportunity to make their opinions known, and to have them considered in the decision-making process. If successful, the rezoning would potentially make it permissible for the child day care centre to move to the California Crescent site.