A new integrated community centre delivering child and family services is planned for Sale, an area that is home to almost 7,000 families with young children.
The centre is expected to provide a combined 122 new childcare and kindergarten places, multi-purpose consulting suites, meeting, and activity spaces for early childhood services and community use – bringing together early years, education, and family services under one roof.
The new integrated centre for children and families forms part of the Sale Feasibility Study and will be located on Gibsons Road in Sale, adjacent to the existing Gippsland Regional Sports Complex.
The centre is the first project to come to life following the comprehensive Sale Feasibility Study, completed in 2022. The Study assessed the demand for early years services, particularly childcare and considered ways to address ageing community infrastructure that will support early years and broader community activity within the Sale District.
Significant population growth and the need for better early years’ services in Sale uncovered that there is both a current and future shortfall in the number of licenced places for kindergarten and childcare in the region. It is obvious that the demand for childcare is too high, with childcare services in Sale having extensive waiting lists.
The Study also considers the Victorian Government’s free kindergarten initiative for 3 and 4-year-old children from 2023. Funded services are increasing to 15 hours per week for 3 and 4-year-old kindergarten, and by 2032 4-year-old kindergarten will increase to 30 hours per week – resulting in higher demand for kindergarten places throughout the shire.
The feasibility study concluded that most community facilities in Sale with existing early years’ service provision have limited or no capacity to accommodate additional infrastructure, with significant accessibility and functionally constraints.
Wellington Shire Council Mayor, Cr Ian Bye welcomed the new facility, saying that Council is pleased to be progressing on the key recommendations from the Sale Feasibility Study, working to provide brand new infrastructure, purpose built from the ground up.
“This new centre would provide a multi-use space, making it easier for parents to access important services such as childcare, kindergarten, maternal and child health, and early intervention programs in the one central location.
“With Sale home to a growing number of young families, it’s important that we look towards the future and take practical and methodical steps to meet the growing demand of childcare and kindergarten services”.
A significant amount of work has already gone into the planning, along with consultation with existing service providers, ensuring that the community is considered at all stages of the project.” Cr Bye said.
Council will now enter a competitive tender process for the appointment of a consultant to carry out the overall design of the new facility, in line with the recommendations provided in the Sale Feasibility Study. The design will be split and awarded in three parts, including concept design, schematic design, and detailed design, and will be completed in consultation with industry stakeholders including existing early year service providers.
During the facility design process, Council will engage in a transparent process to determine a suitable management model for the facility.
The total project is estimated to cost just over $7.8 million, with the concept, schematic and detailed designs used to attract external funding opportunities and secure construction of the centre. Construction is set to be completed at the end of 2025, with opening expected in early to mid-2026.
To learn more about the project and find answers to Frequently Asked Questions, visit Council’s website at www.wellington.vic.gov.au/development/major-projects-and-works.