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A site plan of the proposed childcare centre at 4 River Street, Harwood. Image: CVC

Proposed Harwood childcare centre

Rodney Stevens

A development application DA2023/0543 to construct a desperately needed childcare centre at Harwood has been lodged with Clarence Valley Council.

Over the past two years a number of people have commented to the CV Independent about how hard it is to get childcare places for under school-aged children in the Lower Clarence, with wait times of more than 12 months reported for some age groups.

The DA for the $342,650 childcare centre at 4 River Street, Harwood, lodged by Stephen John Kirkland proposes demolishing an existing elevated fibro dwelling, rear fibro shed, and small metal shed on the 505 square metre site and replacing it with a two-storey structure constructed of rendered block work and a metal roof with a footprint of 150 square metres.

On the ground floor an outside undercover play area is proposed which will be open to a grassed playing area, plus the lower level will include facilities, reception and staff rooms.

The upper level of the proposal will be linked to the ground level with a lift and internal stairs and include an indoor play area with a bathroom and toilet.

Three fenced off staff parking spaces are proposed off Petticoat Lane at the rear of the site, with a play area, screens, plants and a large engineering mound for wastewater treatment in the backyard.

The Statement of Environmental Effects SEE lodged with the DA indicates three staff will work at the childcare centre, if approved, which will cater for a maximum of 27 children and operate from 6.30am to 6pm.

“The property is located within the Harwood Heritage Conservation Area but is not a listed heritage item itself,” the SEE states.

Neighbouring the proposed site is an established childcare centre.

“To its east is the one and a half storey Walla Walla Bing Bang Early Learning Centre (No 6 River St) which was converted from a dwelling under DA 2019/0430, approved on 1 November 2019,” the SEE states.

As the proposed development is on a flood prone site according to the Clarence Valley Council Development Control Plan 2011, all floor levels are required to be no lower than the 5-year flood level plus freeboard, which means additional fill would be required on the site.

The DA was on public exhibition until 4pm on Monday June 10, and council planning staff will consider public submissions before the proposal comes before a future council meeting to be determined.