Sale of community owned buildings

Letter to the editor:

My Name is Tarnie Van Vliet. I was born in the Manning Base and have grown up in this beautiful part of the world and am proud to call the Manning Valley my home. I have chosen to raise my young family in Wingham “The Friendly Town” and am also part of a committed team dedicated to providing quality childcare to the families that live in the area – Cuddlepie Early Childhood Learning Centre.

I am writing with reference to an article called “Wither Wingham?” that was published in the May 2015 edition of The Manning Community News. This article made mention of Cuddlepie and other “old” unaffordable buildings in Wingham including the courthouse and the Town Hall. The article suggested that there was a plan to sell off these buildings –  something that I as the President of the committee that helps to run Cuddlepie was unaware of.

Cuddlepie is the longest running childcare centre in Wingham and was established in 1986. It is a not-for-profit community based centre and is run by a committee comprised of dedicated parents and the director Tony. It is run by the community for the community.

It is fully accredited to the highest standard, operating 50 weeks of the year, catering for children from six weeks to six years and provides nutritional meals including any special dietary requirements.

Cuddlepie employs dedicated, qualified and experienced staff members some of which have been working at the centre for over 10 years proving exceptional stability and care. Each room is led by an early-childhood university qualified teacher who is responsible for the development and implementation of the daily programs. There is an innovative babies program and an educational program with a school readiness focus in the preschool room.

The centre also has a strong focus on arts and craft and runs an art exhibition at the end of each year (last year’s exhibition was held in the town hall with great success). The exhibition showcases a unique piece of art work made by each child and also doubles as a fund raiser for the centre with profits going towards funding new materials for the following year.

In conjunction with the the art exhibition this year the centre is also holding a raffle. Prizes have been donated by a variety of local businesses and include an original water dreaming painting by local Aboriginal artist Rex Winston and a voucher by the Photography Hub in Taree.

Cuddlepie also provides excursions into the local community including the local library and the nursing home. These excursions provide valuable leaning experiences for the children and we believe that supporting our community is important.

With this one building providing so much for the community especially the younger generation I am unsure how it can be possibly deemed as “unaffordable”. Is it not more beneficial for the community to have this long standing quality childcare centre for its community members and their precious children? Cuddlepie embraces the unique characteristics of Wingham – it is a friendly environment.

I for one certainly hope that the thought bubble has been shot down in the corridors of the council.

Council replied:

Thank you for emailing me. From time to time council undertakes reviews of its activities to ensure it is operating as effectively and efficiently as it can. One such recent review has been of all the buildings owned by council. From these reviews there are often business cases presented to council about the pros and cons of any action. The impact on the community is upmost in people’s minds when considering the outcome of the reviews.

While the buildings occupied by Cuddlepie and Wingham Town Hall were part of a recent review there has been no decision to sell or change the use of either of these buildings. Cuddlepie is a valuable facility for the Wingham community and I expect it to remain so for many years to come.

Regards, Ron Posselt. General Manager Greater Taree City Council

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