Pachamama gets nod over staff

Published: Echo Newspaper – May 3, 2018

PACHAMAMA Early Education and Childcare has had an application to increase child numbers and operating hours approved at a special Kalamunda council meeting on Monday night, despite staff objections that moved supporters of the controversial centre to tears.

The staff recommendation to refuse the increase was overturned by an alternative recommendation by councillor Tracy Destree, ultimately winning with unanimous council support and applause from the gallery.

The approval allows for an increase of 10 to 43 children at 61 Coolinga Rd and 47 to 69 children at the centre’s adjacent site at 36 Marri Crescent and an extension of hours from 7am-6pm to 6.30am-6.30pm.

Pachamama director Kristen McPhail has been operating with the increased numbers since 2014, unaware that her state approvals also needed approval at local government level.

“It appears that I was wrong,” she said during a deputation.

“And for that I am sorry.

“It has not been my intention to create problems but rather only to provide the community with what it needs, and continues to need which is quality childcare to allow parents to work and children to grow and thrive in a nature-based environment.”

The staff recommendation for refusal said intensified use and traffic movements of the Lesmurdie properties would impact on the amenity of the residential locality.

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