New deck on hold
Consultation on creche expansion
Plunket’s creche in Whitby won’t be getting a new deck any time soon.
A 70-square metre deck is the central part of the creche’s application to Porirua City Council as the business looks to expand from 11 children to 25.
Last week, the council’s Te Komiti looked set to pass the expansion, worth nearly $200,000, before concerns were raised in public speaking time by Geoff Mowday, chairman of Whitby Residents Association.
Mowday said the consultation process had not been thorough, even though a report to councillors said positive feedback on the creche expansion had been received from the association, the nearby retirement village and Whitby Co-Op.
‘‘ We [ residents association] are not anti-Plunket and we’re pleased to have them in the community, but we are concerned about this extension not being publicly notified,’’ Mowday said.
‘‘ Many residents were only aware of what was happening when these council papers came out this week.’’
He said the only green space by the lake would be lost once the deck was built and parking and traffic issues – already bad in the Whitby civic centre – would get much worse.
‘‘This application is silent on acknowledging these traffic issues. We do not support this proposal in its present form.’’
Scott Fisher, Plunket New Zealand’s business development manager, told the meeting that for the creche to be sustainable, 25 pre-schoolers would need to be enrolled and thus expansion was needed.
Councillor Litea Ah Hoi asked Mowday whether Whitby residents were being precious about their green spaces, when the suburb had more reserve areas than the eastern and western parts of Porirua combined.
Mowday agreed the association was being precious, but said it should be up to the community to decide on Plunket’s plans.
Councillor Anita Baker – who called traffic and parking in Whitby’s shopping centre a circus – successfully moved that the creche’s expansion be deferred until a site visit by councillors and wider consultation was carried out.