We invite your submission on the proposed sale of these three Council-owned properties. We intend to reinvest the proceeds of the potential sales into childcare facilities, including the redevelopment of Council’s North St Kilda Children's Centre into a modern, fully accessible, purpose-built facility with expanded capacity.
The centres are:
- Eildon Road Children’s Centre, 17 Eildon Road, St Kilda
- Elwood Children’s Centre, 46 Tennyson Street, Elwood
- The Avenue Children’s Centre and Kindergarten, 39 The Avenue, Balaclava.
There has been no decision to sell the properties – a resolution (below) adopted at the 2 December Council Meeting only authorises a consultation to proceed. After submissions and feedback have been considered, a report on the proposed sales will be considered in the Council Chamber in 2022.
Visit the consultation page via this link Have Your Say site. This consultation has been advertised via our website, The Age newspaper and via letters to nearby residents.
More about the three centres
These small, community run centres were built as houses more than 100 years ago. They have declined with age, and do not meet modern building and accessibility standards.
We've spent approximately $1 million over the last five years on the three buildings in maintenance and renewal to support the continued operation of the centres.
In the period since these centres opened, the standards for childcare centre buildings have changed. To bring these three centres to that standard, requires a large investment and each would need to close to complete the work.
There is no certainty that this could be done on all three sites due to the challenges with the specific sites, including:
- size of the land
- planning scheme
- their residential location.
Undertaking significant or specific works can trigger the Building Code, and with it the requirement to bring the building to current commercial building standards. Additionally, the Disability Discrimination Act requires these buildings to be accessible to people with a disability.
As well as authorising consultation, the resolution provides for Council to advocate to the Victorian and Australian Governments to fund the works required to meet these standards. If the work isn't possible, we will advocate to these governments for funding to purchase land and develop purpose-built childcare facilities.
A recent media report contained an error, which said Council had been gifted two of these properties to provide childcare. This is not the case. Council bought all three properties at market rates.
Council resolution - Portfolio Improvement: Childcare Centres
At the Council meeting of 2 December 2021, the Council resolved the following.
- Notes that planning is underway to boost the capacity and functionality of the North St Kilda Children's Centre, including its ability to accommodate children with a disability.
- Authorises relevant officers to seek State and Federal government co-funding for the development of the new North St Kilda Children's Centre, and delegates authority to the Chief Executive Officer to do all things necessary to secure this funding, including entering into and signing all relevant funding agreements, including the affixing of the Common Seal of Port Phillip Council to the relevant documents should that be required, and provides the CEO the authority to on-delegate these powers to another officer if required.
- Notes that as part of its asset and portfolio management, officers shall continue to assess its stock to ensure that Council-owned childcare facilities are fit for purpose and meet legislative and building compliance requirements.
- Commences the statutory procedures in accordance with the Local Government Act 2020 (the 'Act') to sell its land at 17 Eildon Road, St Kilda; 46 Tennyson Street, Elwood; and 39 The Avenue, Balaclava, by competitive market process, and in stages over the next few years.
- Advertises the Public Notices of Intention to Sell on Council's website in accordance with Section 114 of the Act.
- In relation to each proposed sale, commences a community engagement process in accordance with Section 114(2)(b) of the Act, including ongoing dialogue and information sharing with the Committees of Management of the relevant Childcare Centres to identify any alternative viable options to sale.
- Authorises officers to undertake the administrative procedures necessary to enable Council to carry out its functions under Section 114 of the Act in relation to the sale proposal and in accordance with Council's Community Engagement Policy 2021 (PDF 1.3 MB).
- Following the consideration of any submissions to each Notice, receives a further report at an Ordinary Meeting of Council.
- Where a lessee operator considers that Council's intention to sell the property may impact the viability of the relevant centre, authorises the Chief Executive Officer (or their delegate) to allow the early end of their lease, and to enter into and sign a deed of surrender of lease, including affixing of the Common Seal of Port Phillip if that is required.
- Requests that officers advocate for the State and Federal Governments to fund works required for the three Childcare Centres to become compliant with current building standards, disability access requirements and other regulatory standards. If, because of heritage or other requirements the properties cannot be made compliant, then Council advocate for State and Federal Government funding to purchase land and develop purpose built childcare facilities.