Kid’s clinic set to close
AN EARLY childhood nursing clinic run from Lennox Head is set to close after the Local Health District decided a $2000 annual rental fee for the venue was too expensive.
The clinic, which runs every Monday, had a free-rent arrangement with Ballina Shire Council for several years in the old CWA building on the site of the Lennox Head Cultural and Community Centre.
The council opted to extend the no-rent arrangement at the community centre when the multi-million dollar building was opened in early 2011.
But following a costs review of the new centre this year, the council indicated the clinic may need to pay a discounted community rental rate.
The LHD was invited to make an annual rental relief application but the application was lodged late and at their last meeting, Ballina councillors voted to reject the application.
Steve Barnier, group manager for strategic and community facilities at Ballina Shire Council said the community rental fee - 50% of the commercial rate - was $40 per day, or around $2000 per year.
The Local Health District has since elected to depart the premises from January 27, forcing Lennox Head mums to use the Ballina Community Health Centre.
A spokesperson for the Northern NSW Local Health District confirmed the decision was made as a result of Ballina Shire Council's request for a rental agreement.
Kelly Taylor used the service every fortnight for almost 18 months with her first daughter Scarlet, now two, and is 20 weeks pregnant.
"It was just such a valuable service," she said.
"They were so helpful and understanding, and just reassuring for all of the questions you have as a new mum.
"It's much more convenient to have it closer to home... the Lennox community is so close knit, it's a real shame."
Mum of two Georgie Morley has used the service for both her children, Lilla and Ava, aged eight weeks and two years.
She said she felt nervous about taking her newborn baby, Lilla, to Ballina because it was more of a risk for whooping cough and other diseases potentially fatal to young babies.
"I don't take my baby out anywhere," she said.
"I didn't like going to Ballina because it's such a busy centre.
"We've been told not to take babies out at all until their six-week vaccination because of whooping cough.
"Lennox was much better because there weren't as many people going in and out."