FUNDING GRANTED: Alstonville Community Preschool committee president Katherine Buckley and Member for Ballina Don Page at the announcement of $384,000 in funding to build a new preschool at Crawford Park.
FUNDING GRANTED: Alstonville Community Preschool committee president Katherine Buckley and Member for Ballina Don Page at the announcement of $384,000 in funding to build a new preschool at Crawford Park. Rodney Stevens

Preschool announcement brings Christmas early to Alstonville

CHRISTMAS came early for Alstonville families yesterday, with the announcement of $384,000 in NSW Government capital works funding to build a new Alstonville Community Preschool.

Member for Ballina, Don Page, was joined by Alstonville Community Preschool committee president Katherine Buckley for the announcement on the planned site of the preschool, Alstonville's Crawford Park.

After more than 40 years of operating the community preschool, in 2012 the Alstonville Baptist Church announced it would close at the end of 2013.

The community rallied following the closure announcement, and Ballina Shire Council reclassified Crawford Park, to help the possible construction of a preschool on the site, if funding was obtained.

Mrs Buckley said the funding announcement was a fantastic Christmas present for families of Alstonville.

She said during construction, which is hoped to commence in September 2014, the preschool would operate from Amaze 'n' Place.

Mrs Buckley said plans had been drawn up and a development application to build the preschool would be lodged with Ballina Shire Council in January.

"We will be starting in January from Amaze 'N' Place and then continuing to build, hopefully at Crawford Park, in 2015, through to opening in 2016."

Mrs Buckley said the preschool committee would be fundraising and applying for grants to help construct a car park, an access road, storm water drainage, and pay for site excavation costs.

Mr Page said he was delighted to announce the $384,881 in funding, after years of fundraising and campaigning by the Alstonville community.

"Without this money there would be a big question mark over whether we could have a new preschool in Alstonville."

He said securing 10% of the $5.7 million total capital works allocation for Alstonville and Wollongbar was great for the region.

"Wollongbar Community Preschool will also receive $190,503 for the construction of alterations and additions to increase capacity and provide a new disability accessible entrance and foyer."



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