Coral Road creche a reality

A few residents living in Coral Road objects to a creche that will soon open its doors in the road.

A creche, soon to open its doors in Table View, has ruffled its neighbours’ feathers.

Seven years ago, the City of Cape Town granted Craig Garrow permission to run a place of instruction from premises in Coral Road.

After drawing several objections from residents, the plan for the creche was put on ice and the lease for the property was instead offered to a beauty college.

However the college’s lease expired in March, and Mr Garrow announced last month that he would be going ahead with the original plan for the creche.

Quinton Spence lives in the Coral Reef complex next door to the soon-to-open creche, and he is part of the body corporate, which originally objected to it in 2010. At the time, he said he was worried how the creche would manage the noise levels of 70 children (“Retired residents say no to educare,” Tabletalk, January 19, 2011).

When Tabletalk met with Mr Spence last week, he still had the same concerns.

He said three body corporates had objected to the creche yet the city council had still given Mr Garrow the green light.

Coral Reef had hired a property firm to appeal arguing that Coral Road and the eight creche parking bays would be unable to handle 70 extra cars in the mornings and afternoons; there was no fencing to keep the children safe; noise from 70 children could not be controlled; more peak-hour traffic would cause more noise; and the break-time area for 70 children was too small.

However the City had dismissed the appeal in June of 2012.

“How can council allow one man’s money-making scheme to disturb over 40 residents?” said Mr Spence.

Mr Garrow said the creche was his wife, Samantha’s, idea as she and her mother had previously run a successful creche. He also pointed out that there were nine parking bays and not eight.

He said their application to council a few years ago had been an “expensive and protracted affair” as they had had to deal with complaints and then appeals from neighbours. It had taken about two and a half years before council had finally granted approval, and Mr Garrow said one of council’s comments supporting the decision had noted that childcare facilities were needed in the area.

“Unfortunately the long wait had been demoralising for my wife,” he said.

So the couple shelved the creche and leased the premises to the beauty college. Mr Garrow said that because a consent approval from council had no time limit, they had decided to go ahead with their original plan for the creche after the college’s lease expired in March.

They have installed a play park with jungle gyms, mini kiddies’ toilets in the bathroom and outfitted the classrooms.

“It’s all done. Coral Kids Educare is now open and ready for business,” Mr Garrow said.

He said they had reached out to their neighbours “to allay their fears”, but while most had no problem with the creche the “fiery old gentleman Quentin” had been the exception.

“When I advised him of our intentions a few weeks ago, I mentioned we would be mindful of our neighbour’s concerns. I hope he takes it to heart as we have devoted considerable time and energy to achieve this goal,” Mr Garrow said.

However, Mr Spence does not appear to be alone in his reluctance to welcome the creche. Joy Wellbeloved lives in the flat above his and is not looking forward to the arrival of the little ones.

“I think it’s going to be noisy. I wish they were not coming. It’s not the kind of kindergarten I went to and it’s not the kind of kindergarten I would send my kids to if I had young kids,” she said.

Brian Hancock lives in the complex next to Coral Reef, and he’s worried about the impact the creche will have on traffic.

“It’s going to put a lot more pressure on the parking and traffic in Coral Road and the road is already busy,” he said.

Tabletalk sent questions to the City but it was unable to respond by the time this edition went to print .