Sec­ond child­hood ed­u­ca­tion cen­tre

Central Otago Mirror - - WANAKA NEWS - By MAR­JORIE COOK Al­bert Town: Wanaka’s pop­u­la­tion growth:

River­side Ed­u­care di­rec­tors Dot and Chris Mac­fie say the Wanaka area’s boom­ing pop­u­la­tion means their pro­posed new early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion cen­tre in Al­bert Town is ur­gently needed.

Cen­sus fig­ures from 2013 re­veal a gen­eral pop­u­la­tion growth of about 28 per cent from 2006, with 59 per cent more chil­dren un­der 5 years old living in the area dur­ing that same pe­riod.

When the Mac­fies opened Al­bert Town’s first child­hood ed­u­ca­tion cen­tre in Ri­fle­man St in 2011, they quickly reached their 65 pupil ca­pac­ity and now have at least 30 fam­i­lies on their wait­ing list.

They were granted re­source con­sent last week to open an­other Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion li­censed cen­tre in Sher­win Ave next Fe­bru­ary, sub­ject to River­side Park de­vel­oper In­fin­ity Group’s progress with the sub­di­vi­sion in­fra­struc­ture.

The ‘‘start up’’ plan is to open with a roll and staff for 30 pupils, but even­tu­ally it could cater for up to 40 chil­dren and pro­vide up to six teach­ing jobs.

The new cen­tre would also in­clude a com­mer­cial kitchen to pro­vide meals for chil­dren at both Al­bert Town fa­cil­i­ties and a public place for par­ents to meet for cof­fee. The cafe would pro­vide jobs for an­other three to five peo­ple.

Dot Mac­fie said she re­ceived in­quiries from par­ents through­out the dis­trict ‘‘al­most daily’’ and was as­tounded how quickly her fam­ily’s vi­sion for early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion was be­ing re­alised.

She and her sis­ter Sandy Dodds worked to­gether to de­velop the Oanaka Ed­u­care cen­tre in Wanaka in 2007, which is now a sep­a­rate en­tity owned and run by Sandy and Barry Dodds. The Mac­fies own and run River­side Ed­u­cate.

‘‘Our vi­sion was to be a lead­ing provider of qual­ity early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion in the Wanaka area, to have a full roll and a wait­ing list. Our roll is now full and our wait­ing list is such that while the 30 or so wait­ing have pro­jected en­try times this year, new peo­ple may not be able to get into River­side Ed­u­care un­til 2016,’’ Mac­fie said.

In­fin­ity Group has not yet com­pleted its River­side Park devel­op­ment, where the fi­nal num­ber of sec­tions is es­ti­mated to be more than 300.

In­fin­ity gen­eral manager Paul Croft said it was great to hear an­other cen­tre was open­ing in Al­bert Town.

‘‘From our side, the de­mand for sec­tions at River­side is prob­a­bly the best it has been for the last five years. We are in the process of re­leas­ing a new stage that will be ti­tled in July. That is 17 sec­tions and we have al­ready sold 11,’’ Croft said.

In­fin­ity is also con­struct­ing stage six (49 sec­tions) and has an­other stage to go af­ter that, of 29 lots, to com­plete the en­tire sub­di­vi­sion.

Croft said River­side was viewed as more af­ford­able and In­fin­ity was just about to sign over 11 sec­tions to the Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict Coun­cil as part of its af­ford­able hous­ing agree­ment with the coun­cil.

Pop­u­la­tion was ‘‘def­i­nitely help­ing’’ drive de­mand for sec­tions at Al­bert Town, which had been tai­lored for young fam­i­lies, Croft said.

Mac­fie said think­ing about the role the child­care cen­tre had as a fo­cal point in a fam­ily-friendly com­mu­nity had sparked the idea for the cafe and many par­ents were de­lighted to hear of the plans.

The new cen­tre would cater for chil­dren aged be­tween 2 and 5 years old. Ba­bies will con­tinue to at­tend River­side Ed­u­care.

A town 5km from Wanaka which is rapidly be­com­ing ab­sorbed in to Wanaka. Al­bert Town was sur­veyed in 1863 and houses were es­tab­lished be­fore peo­ple be­gan mov­ing to Pem­broke in the 1870s. Al­bert Town’s first school opened in 1870 but closed for lack of pupils in 1876.

Fol­low­ing more than a decade of rapid growth, the Wanaka ward’s ‘‘usu­ally res­i­dent’’ pop­u­la­tion was 9036 at the 2013 Cen­sus, up from 7011 in 2006. This is an in­crease of 28 per cent.

The pop­u­la­tion of chil­dren aged 0-4 years in­creased from 417 in 2006 to 663 in 2013, an in­crease of 58.9 per cent.

Dot and Chris Mac­fie of River­side Ed­u­care. Photo: MAR­JORIE COOK Site: 1615sqm on cor­ner of Sher­win Ave and King­fisher Cres The pro­posal: A sin­gle story build­ing cov­er­ing 347sqm, con­tain­ing class­rooms, of­fices, a com­mer­cial kitchen and cafe. In­cludes play­ground, out­door shade, shel­ter struc­tures and fences. Ma­te­ri­als: Ply and bat­tens cladding, coloursteel roof, alu­minium join­ery Hours of op­er­a­tion: 7.30am-6pm, with the busiest times 8.45am3.15pm. Ed­u­ca­tion re­quire­ments: The fa­cil­ity will be li­censed, char­tered and staffed for 40 chil­dren aged be­tween 2 and 5 years. The Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion cur­ricu­lum ap­plies.

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