Kinder confusion, delays rile parents

PARENTS and committee members of the Marong Preschool say the new kindergarten project has been bungled. 

The project was announced in October 2010 and the preschool was to open in the third term of 2011, which was pushed back to early 2012, then the second term of 2012. 

The school is now expected to open at the end of the month, but work is yet to be finished. 

Former preschool committee member Emma Power said the process had involved delays, a lack of information and unfulfilled requests. 

“The committee, which represents the families that have to actually use the centre, felt very left out of the process,” she said. 

“The process hasn’t been handled well by anyone. There were delays with the builders, delays with access to the site and then there were VicRoads issues.”

Another parent who asked not to be named said it had been “a massive process” trying to get information from the Loddon Mallee Preschool Association (LMPA) and the City of Greater Bendigo.

Both are responsible for the construction of the new site in Leslie Street with the Education Department.

“The school has enough capacity but the playground isn’t big enough and it’s a very small backyard for them to explore and develop skills,” they said.

“Probably the parents who are most annoyed are the ones who couldn’t see a finished product because their children have finished at the kinder. No one’s happy with the way it’s happened.” 

The parent said there was confusion over the site’s address, with mail due to be sent to the main road. 

Another parent who also asked not to be named said she was “glad my daughter is no longer at the kinder.” 

“It’s a great kinder with great staff, but behind the scenes they couldn’t organise a chook raffle in a pub,” they said. “It got to the end and nobody wanted to take ownership of the building and pay insurance on it.” 

LMPA chief executive Sandra Houlihan said she didn’t know what the parents were talking about. “It’s been constructed and the project managed by the City of Greater Bendigo,” she said.

“It takes a long time to build a building. We’re going to be ready to go by the start of the year as far as I know.

“It’s a beautiful building that meets the requirements of the Education Department.” 

She said staff would start at the preschool on January 29. 

Calls to the council were directed to the Department of Education. A spokesperson said the department was working with the LMPA to ensure the facility opened by the start of the kindergarten year and was finalising the lease agreement between the LMPA and the department.

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