Surf Coast Shire Council will seek expressions of interest from architects to design a new children’s centre in the growing Torquay North area.

The Torquay North Children’s Centre will provide 88 kindergarten spaces, maternal and child health consulting rooms, allied health services, playgroups, parent groups and occasional child care.

The building will be designed with flexibility in mind so it can accommodate other uses such as community meetings. The design will also facilitate future expansion of the building if required.

When the Surf Coast Shire Council previously considered the Torquay North Children’s Centre project it anticipated the centre would also provide long day care because of a forecast shortage of places in the Torquay area.

Since then providers of long day care have entered the Torquay market meaning the expected shortfall in this service is now likely to be met.

Surf Coast Shire Council Mayor Cr Rose Hodge welcomed the entry of additional long day care providers.

“It’s very pleasing to see providers of long day care have identified the gap in Torquay and are addressing it with two new facilities. Long day care is not an existing Council service and it’s a great outcome if this demand can now be met through specialist providers.

“This fact means Council can concentrate on providing high quality kindergarten and maternal and child health services – including the expansion of three-year kindergarten places,” said Cr Hodge.

“Our popular Council kindergarten places are already at capacity and demand will exceed supply if new facilities aren’t developed.

The Mayor said the change in scope of the project meant Council could also reduce the overall cost.

“Through not having to provide long day care the centre can be built smaller meaning the total project budget can be reduced from $8 million to $6,775,000. This assists Council to financially meet the need for other facilities, particularly given lower future rates resulting from the Fair Go Rates system.

The Mayor said she was excited the project was moving into the design phase.

“We will continue to work with our advisory group on the design phase and will shortly advertise for expressions of interest from suitably qualified architects.

The Torquay North Children’s Centre will be located on Merrijig Drive, and include 88 kindergarten places; maternal and child health consulting rooms; playgroups; parent groups and education; allied health facilities and early childhood intervention services; occasional child care and flexible spaces for broader community use.  It is due to open at the start of 2018.

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