j.gresham

No opening date for Caterpillar daycare

CATERPILLAR House still has no re-opening date after the October 28 fire which gutted the community child care centre.

Director Rose Franks said yesterday the insurance company was in control, the city's only occasional child care centre was to be rebuilt and the development application was with Coffs Harbour City Council.

"We have had a builder ready to go since January," Mrs Franks said.

"We would have been happy to start months ago."

She said parents and the occasional child care centre's management committee were becoming frustrated by the continuing delay, but could do nothing about it because the matter was in the hands of the insurance company, which in turn had hired a building consultant.

Mrs Franks said Caterpillar House, Coffs Harbour's longest-running pre-school, was an old building and she had been given to understand new regulations like access for people with disabilities and new bushfire regulations were what was holding up the approval process.

"I think the original plans had to be re-drawn and resubmitted several times," she said.

The uncertainty has meant the management committee has been unable to make plans to re-open, although it is continuing to meet.

Management committee member Kim Stenton said a lot of families were desperate to come back and some children of refugee families were currently being bussed to Toormina, whereas previously they had been walking distance from the centre.

"It is very frustrating but there is not much we can do," Mrs Stenton said.

"We can't buy new equipment until we have somewhere to store it."

She said they also felt anxious about the staff, who all loved their jobs and added that insurance had been paying staff wages, but she was unsure how long this would continue.


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