IT was fitting that Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development Wendy Lovell announced $1.3 million for Tallangatta’s new “early-learning hub”, before a colourful sea of bright-eyed children.
She joined member for Benambra Bill Tilley in Tallangatta yesterday, surrounded by balloons, children and their parents and carers.
With Towong mayor Mary Fraser they unveiled what Cr Fraser described as “the most exciting thing I’ve been involved with in (nearly 30 years) on the council”.
The $2.15 million, 1500-square-metre centre is expected to create a boom of new families in the area when it opens its doors in January 2015.
It will fill a gap for the town, which has had some day-care services before but nothing substantial for working parents with young kids.
The new centre will incorporate a kindergarten, long-hours day care and outside-school care, maternal and child health services and a library.
“This facility will bring together all of the children’s services ... that are needed to support young families in Tallangatta,” Ms Lovell said.
“It’ll be an integrated one-stop shop... and a great facility for Tallangatta.”
The eco-friendly centre, which has been on the council’s agenda for the past five years, will be built on Towong Street from recycled materials.
Mr Tilley said the project was an example of what could be achieved when the community and local and state governments worked together.
“There’s been a good couple of years of solid work from the community to determine exactly what it needed and wanted,” Mr Tilley said.
“I’ve been bursting at the seams for quite some time to be part of this announcement.”
No contractor has been appointed to build the centre.
Cr Fraser said it would make Tallangatta more appealing to young families.
“It’ll certainly help to encourage young families to move here because, at the moment, they have the burden of driving quite a long way (for childcare services),” Cr Fraser said.