A NEW childcare centre planned to go in next door to North Perth primary school has locals worried the extra cars will make a narrow laneway unsafe.
The School of Early Learning wants to open a three-storey centre at 81 Angove Street, using the rear of the block, in a wee alley just off Albert Street, for pick-up and drop-off.
Mary McHenry is a retired school teacher and worries about the 100 or so students who walk to school along the route every day.
She says a lot of locals don’t oppose the centre itself, but she’s collected 600 signatures opposing the rear access and pushing for it to be moved to Angove Street.
Ms McHenry says it’d be alright if staff use the back entrance, but there’s already 440 pupils heading to North Perth primary on school days and she predicts it could mean gridlock.
The rear drop off point would also mean the loss of a peppercorn tree, believed to have been planted when the local fire station was opened in 1908.
Known locally as “Children’s Tree” because of its proximity to the school, its ancient hollows are used by Carnaby’s black cockatoos who require old tees for nesting from July to February. An old owl is also frequently seen in the upper reaches, hunting in the alley and backyards for mice.
The locals have gone to state MP Eleni Evangel who says she’s “extremely concerned”.
“The community understands development is inevitable however with any development proposal I believe the safety of our children and all pedestrians must be the highest priority,” Ms Evangel says.
“The narrow laneway at the rear of this proposal is used by children walking to and from the North Perth primary school. Imagine the chaos and danger for children using the laneway to walk to school.
The centre still needs approval from the development assessment panel, and the site it’s slated for is the old Angove Street fire station.
Vincent city council sold it off last year—earlier than planned—to help cover a budget bungle from 2014.
Ms McHenry says the council ought to have had the foresight to put a condition on the block preventing use of the perilously narrow laneway.
We asked the centre’s Brett Thomson if the School of Early Learning would be open to rejigging its drop off point, but didn’t hear back before deadline.
by DAVID BELL