A decision on the future of Warilla Child Care Centre has been deferred until September to give Shellharbour City Council more time to consult with the community.
A recommendation that the long day care facility be closed at the end of the year if a new service provider could not be found by October was put forward at Tuesday night’s council meeting.
Following addresses from 11 speakers who shared their concerns about what closing the centre would mean for the children who attend it, their families and its 10 staff members, councillor Kellie Marsh moved a motion to delay a decision until the council meeting on September 2.
The motion was carried unanimously.
In the interim council will investigate other options for the future of the centre, but Mayor Marianne Saliba cautioned that hard decisions may still have to be made.
Council has run the centre for almost 40 years, leasing the property on a ‘‘peppercorn’’ lease of $1 a year from Housing NSW.
In May they were told by Housing NSW the rent would increase to $40,000, a cost that would have to be met by council or passed on to families in higher fees.
Parents had expressed their distress at being notified of the centre’s potential closure on Friday, only a few days before it was due to be voted on.
Discussions with other possible providers will continue while council consults with the community.