Questions and concerns as Parkview Kindergarten set to close

DEVASTATED: Parkview Kindergarten staff member Michelle Watterson with some of the younger children.
DEVASTATED: Parkview Kindergarten staff member Michelle Watterson with some of the younger children.

FOR more than 20 years, the privately owned Parkview Kindergarten has been offering long day care for children from birth right through to six-year-olds, as well as providing after school care for older children.

Staff at the centre say they have been told by the owner that the doors will close on December 24 for good.

"We are devastated," staff member Michelle Watterson said.

"The centre has been purpose built to cater for the different age groups. It's not a matter of relocating.

"This will affect the 36 families and 47 children currently using the facility. Because we are open from 8am to 6pm, the hours suit working mothers and fathers.

"Most families need two incomes to survive in the current economic climate. I do not know what these families are going to do in 2021.

"We have a petition circulating around Oberon for residents to show their support and advise us of how many numbers we will have in 2021.

"We have five full-time staff and two casual staff that will also be affected."

IN OTHER NEWS AROUND OBERON:

Ms Watterson said they receive no government funding because it is a privately owned facility.

"Ideally, we would like someone to buy the facility so we can continue to provide a much-needed service for the Oberon community," she said.

"Parents are starting to panic; they do not know what they'll do. Travelling to Bathurst is not an option.

"The Oberon Children's Centre can cater for some, but not the younger children. And the hours do not suit a lot of our clients."

Ms Watterson said Oberon is a growing town and the closure of the childcare facility would be a big loss.

Mayor Kathy Sajowitz said she appreciated how upsetting the proposed closure of Parkview Kindergarten must be for parents, children and staff, but said the fact that it is a private business "limits what we can do as a council".

"I have spoken to stakeholders to offer what support I can," she said.

"To relieve anxiety short term, I have been advised that although operational hours vary, other providers in town have been able to fill some of the gaps and I am in close contact with Department of Education representatives who are also exploring all avenues of assistance."