Toy time for re­gion’s fam­i­lies un­der cloud

Fam­i­lies who use Rock­ing­ham and Dis­tricts Toy Li­brary face an un­cer­tain fu­ture, with its Waikiki premises to be handed back to the City of Rock­ing­ham. Pic­tured are Aurora Me­nen­dez, 1, Ad­di­son, 3, and Piper Win­ton, 2, and Trey Row­lands, 4.

Southern Telegraph - - Front Page - Pierra Wil­lix

The Rock­ing­ham and Dis­tricts Toy Li­brary has been forced to move for the third time in five years, with its cur­rent build­ing in Waikiki be­ing handed back to the City of Rock­ing­ham.

The not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion was re­cently handed an evic­tion no­tice by the Depart­ment of Com­mu­ni­ties, which said the group would have to va­cate its room at the Waikiki Com­mu­nity and Fam­ily Cen­tre as the build­ing was be­ing handed back to the City next month.

Although the City has of­fered the group a tem­po­rary re­prieve, ex­tend­ing the lease for six months, the group will still have to look for new premises.

Toy li­brary pres­i­dent Karen East was thank­ful of the of­fer from the City, but said the long-term home of the or­gan­i­sa­tion was un­clear.

It is re­ally dis­rup­tive for the mem­bers to have to move again.

Karen East

“This is the per­fect lo­ca­tion and we would re­ally love to stay here, “she said. “It is cen­tral, has a play area, a kitchen, chang­ing area and toi­lets.”

The or­gan­i­sa­tion has been at its cur­rent premises for less than a year, hav­ing been forced to move twice in the past few years.

The group had pre­vi­ously shut down for about two years af­ter be­ing un­able to se­cure premises, and while it re­opened in 2015, it had to move in 2017 af­ter the Sal­va­tion Army build­ing in which it was lo­cated was sold.

Depart­ment of Com­mu­ni­ties as­sis­tant di­rec­tor-gen­eral cor­po­rate op­er­a­tions Paul Whyte said the cur­rent build­ing in Waikiki was owned by the City but the land was vested to the City through the Depart­ment of Plan­ning, Lands and Her­itage.

The previous oc­cu­pant, the Waikiki Fam­ily Cen­tre, be­came in­sol­vent and ceased to ex­ist in Fe­bru­ary, 2017.

At the time, the depart­ment al­lowed long-term oc­cu­pant Lit­tle Smar­ties Play­group to re­main, and also in­tro­duced a new oc­cu­pant, the Rock­ing­ham and Dis­tricts Toy Li­brary, both on short-term ar­range­ments, while co­in­cid­ing with the du­ra­tion of the depart­ment lease with the City.

Mr Whyte said the Depart­ment of Com­mu­ni­ties leased the cen­tre from the City, but the lease would ex­pire at the end of De­cem­ber.

“As the depart­ment no longer has a use for the cen­tre, it is be­ing re­turned to the City,” he said.

With the toy li­brary run by vol­un­teers, Ms East said an­other re­lo­ca­tion would be dif­fi­cult for the group, which would have to fig­ure out how to move more than 800 toys and set up a new space.

“It is re­ally dis­rup­tive for the mem­bers to have to move again,” she said. “We have 73 mem­bers which rep­re­sent over 100 chil­dren and have fam­i­lies com­ing from places like Jar­rah­dale, Ser­pen­tine and Wel­lard.”

Par­ent Amy Win­ton said the ser­vice was a huge ben­e­fit to the com­mu­nity, but a re­lo­ca­tion may af­fect mem­ber­ship if fam­i­lies had to travel fur­ther.

Rock­ing­ham Mayor Barry Sam­mels said the City’s pref­er­ence was to make ar­range­ments al­low­ing the toy li­brary to re­main in its cur­rent premises for six months from Jan­uary 1, while the City sup­ported it to move to a more per­ma­nent build­ing.

Pic­ture: Pierra Wil­lix

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