Alstonville CBD
Alstonville CBD David Nielsen

New preschool site hangs on reactions from community

MORE than 100 people attended a public hearing in Alstonville on Thursday night to discuss the proposed recategorisation of part of Crawford Park.

About 4000sqm of land at the northern edge of the park is proposed to be changed from "park" and "sportsground" to "general community use".

The change would enable an application to be made for the new Alstonville Community Preschool.

While most people agreed a community preschool was needed in the village, its location has caused division.

Nearby residents have expressed concerns about stormwater issues and unsafe streets. David Murray, who lives in Freeborn Place, said he was "totally opposed to the recategorisation" of part of the park because of issues such as increased noise, loss of amenity and congestion. Many mums and dads of young children said the site was ideal because of its central location in the CBD, near the swimming pool and the soccer club.

Georgie Ford was a founding member of Alstonville Community Preschool Inc.

"We have looked at just about every plot of land in Alstonville," Ms Ford said.

"This site has not been chosen on a whim."

Alstonville Football Club spokesman Peter Weingarth said the club was concerned about the loss of car parking. "We know Alstonville needs a preschool," he said. "But we believe it needs to be in a sustainable place and that Crawford Park is not a sustainable place. We are also opposed to the general loss of open space."

Supporters of the pre- school said the recategorisation was urgent, otherwise Alstonville could be left without a preschool by the end of next year.

"We are running out of time," said Miriam O'Grady.

The chairwoman of the public hearing, Ballina solicitor Clarissa Huegill, will prepare a report on the proposed land recategorisation for Ballina Shire Council.

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