A new preschool has been proposed for the Byron Shire.
A new preschool has been proposed for the Byron Shire. Oleg Rogkov

Plan to build new preschool for 60 kids

A NEW preschool has been proposed for Ewingsdale, but some say the planned location isn't suitable.

While the company behind the development application says it would target a "growing demand” for childcare and have a "minimal impact” on the surrounding environment, some residents are lodging submissions against the proposal.

Lodged to Byron Shire Council on March 22 and currently on public exhibition, the proposal would see Leaps and Bounds Preschool open a Byron Bay/Ewingsdale branch at 159 McGettigans Lane.

The Leaps and Bounds brand already has two preschools in Manly, NSW and Highgate, WA.

The proposed centre would cater to up to 60 children aged two to five years and would operate 6am to 6pm.

The plans would see the owners reuse an existing three-bedroom dwelling as an office building, while a new building would be constructed for the preschool's main activities.

The project, put forward by owners TBTJ Pty Ltd & Willybird Pty Ltd, is expected to cost $850,000 and would include 25 car parking spaces.

According to the Development Application, the construction would see several trees removed from the property and a host of native plants, including finger lime and lilly pilly trees, planted around the preschool.

The applicant said the proposal would cause "no loss of residential amenity within the local area” with "minimal impact” to the residential road's aesthetic and environmental conditions, but would meet a "growing demand in the community for such facilities”.

Nearby resident Judy Baxter said many were concerned about how wildlife would be affected by an increase in traffic on McGettigans Lane.

Mrs Baxter, who owns the Middle Earth garden on Avocado Crescent, said this included endangered species.

"We have koalas right at our gate,” she said.

She was also concerned the pothole-riddled road wouldn't be able to cope with the influx of vehicles which the child care business would bring.

Bangalow Koalas president Linda Sparrow said she was concerned the centre would have a serious impact on koala habitat.

While the development application said there was no koala habitat on the property itself, Ms Sparrow said it was critical to maintain Ewingsdale's koala corridor.

She said a koala was recently found dead on McGettingans Lane, believed to have been hit by a car, while the animals - including one recently photographed carrying a joey - were often spotted by residents.

"The Ewingsdale koala populations is one of the healthiest (but) this would be a major threat,” Ms Sparrow said.

"It's a very important population for the Byron Shire.

"We put all those extra cars on the road and we're going to get more koala deaths.”

Ms Sparrow said she would look further into the application and would consider lodging a submission to the council.

The preschool is on public exhibition on the Byron Shire Council website until May 2.



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