Parkland eyed for preschool

ALSTONVILLE residents have met with Ballina Shire Council representatives over concerns that parkland in the village could be used for a new community preschool.

The park in question is situated between Cooke Ave and Parkland Crt.

It is one of several sites - along with the Alstonville Showground - being considered for the preschool, which is currently operated by the Baptist church.

The church has confirmed it will close down the preschool but only once a suitable replacement organisation is up and running.

A group of parents formed Alstonville Community Preschool Inc and have been lobbying all levels of government to help them find a location for a new facility.

Ballina Shire Council formed a working party to investigate the options available.

Although several sites were identified, councillors recently voted to authorise general manager Paul Hickey to have discussions with the Alstonville Agricultural Society about using land at the showground.

That site is considered to be the most suitable because it is centrally located, the land is level and access is good.

The other option favoured by councillors is the parkland situated between Cooke Ave and Parkview Crt.

It is owned by the council and its main drawcards are that it is a convenient location and the land is flat.

But some nearby residents want to prevent the preschool from being built there.

A group of locals met last month to discuss "strategies and ideas" to prevent the use of the park for "any business/commercial benefit".

Christine Henderson lives opposite the park.

She sent letters to all nearby residents, saying individuals and/or businesses should not be allowed to acquire parkland anywhere in Alstonville.

She also encouraged other concerned residents to write to the council, Ballina MP Don Page, Lismore MP Thomas George and Page MP Janelle Saffin.

In the meantime the council is continuing discussions with the Alstonville Agricultural Society.

The outcomes of those discussions will be "reported back to council at the first available opportunity".

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