LAKE Macquarie council will proceed with plans to purchase a resident's property in Warners Bay for $680,000 in order to relocate a child care centre it leases out a few hundred metres away.
The council unanimously voted this week to buy 40 Yorston Street for the future relocation of Warners Bay Early Learning and Child Care Centre to a new facility.
A staff report prepared for the organisational services meeting said the centre's existing site was "required for the future development of the Warners Bay Town Centre" and relocation would "reduce traffic congestion" associated with the site and nearby roundabout of King and Bayview streets.
"It has been identified that an alternative location for the [child care] centre would be preferable in order to enable future development opportunities and support economic diversification in the Warners Bay town centre," the report said.
"Relocation of the centre will improve amenities, services and transport together with development outcomes for the community.
"[It] will also reduce congestion associated with the centre being located on a busy roundabout and reduce the safety risks associated with increased traffic at pick up/drop off times."
Under the plans, a new facility will be built across 40 and 38 Yorston Street - a council site considered vacant community land.
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While no details were included in the report of the cost of a new facility, it will accommodate an additional 20 early learning places per day.
The existing centre has operated on the corner of King and Charles streets for 28 years.
The council leases the site to a private operator and expects to continue that relationship once the new council-funded facility is built.
Funds from the Glendale Plan of S7.11 (developer contributions reserve) will be used to purchase 40 Yorston Street.
The council's negotiations with the landowner were based on the valuation provided by its valuer culminating in an agreed purchase.
Real estate records show 592 square-metre property last sold in 2003 for $310,000.
A number of other properties were considered as possible sites for the child care centre's relocation, including in Queen, King and Spencer streets.
The council also sought to purchase 42 Yorston Street, but the owners were not interested in a sale at the time.
Cr Adam Shultz questioned what impact not buying the property would have.
Staff said acquiring No. 42 was a "preferred option" but it was "not critical in terms of design".
Acquiring No. 42 would likely allow for a single-storey building, while a two-storey facility is likely to be built across 38 and 40.
Cr Kevin Baker argued for an acquisition layer to be placed over 42 Yorston Street and an amendment passed for councillors to be provided with further information in regards to "future planning for the land".
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