Caringbah Presbyterian Church and residents object to Catholic Church childcare centre plans on traffic grounds

A proposal for a new childcare centre in the grounds of the Catholic Church and schools at Caringbah has drawn objections from the adjoining Presbyterian Church and nearby residents.

Their concerns are about traffic congestion, which is already at a high level during school drop-off and pick-up periods.

A development application (DA) has been lodged for the single storey, 76-place childcare centre within Our Lady of Fatima Church grounds, which include a parish primary school and De La Salle College.

The childcare centre would be located on vacant land next to the church.

The DA proposes a number of measures to alleviate traffic congestion.

They include converting the existing two-way driveway into the grounds from Port Hacking Road into one-way westbound during 8am - 9.30am and 2.30pm - 4pm.

During these periods, all vehicles would leave via Burns Lane onto President Avenue.

Another proposed measure is to restrict access from Port Hacking Road to left in and left out only through the installation of raised traffic separators along the centre of the road.

In a formal submission on the DA, Caringbah Presbyterian Church said, "We are concerned with only one aspect of the proposal, the traffic implications".

" We recognise the work which has been undertaken on this issue in the Traffic and Parking Impact Statement, but we respectfully consider that the analysis in this study is overly optimistic in its findings that the adverse traffic impact can be adequately managed by the proposed arrangements.

"This is particularly so along Port Hacking Road where we see the present traffic impact being exacerbated by the childcare centre unless more far reaching measures are adopted."

The submission said the traffic impact statement acknowledged there was already significant traffic congestion along Port Hacking Road during the morning drop-off, but the situation was even worse than stated.

Traffic queues extended at least to Burraneer Bay Road [more than 300 metres] and "to suggest this represents a minor inconvenience to drivers is a bold conclusion", the submission said.

The submission said the proposed measures to alleviate congestion were "positive steps, but only if the traffic flow can be maintained from ingress, through the schools and then to egress".

"From daily observation, the traffic currently through the schools is stationary for extended periods," the submission said.

"We do not see the presently envisaged added measures... in themselves as being anywhere near sufficient.

"Parking is also an issue...as any available car park spaces at our church are now regularly taken by parents either dropping their children at the schools or picking them up in the afternoon.

"While we have sought to be reasonable on this issue, we see this impact only increasing on our church with the childcare centre.

"The parking of three school buses at intervals across our church frontage and entrance in Port Hacking Road for picking up and delivering students adds to this impact."

The submission said, apart from there being a safety issue, we need to be able to gain access to our church without losing at least an hour a day, and we suspect that many other property owners would agree".

"We would be pleased to be consulted further as this proposal for a childcare centre is assessed," the submission concluded.

One of the residents who objected lives in President Avenue and said, "the traffic coming out of the school completely blocks Burns Lane".

"To increase this is absurd and will have huge negative impact on our lives," the resident said.

Another submission said, "The current situation with traffic management is terrible. Adding further to the traffic congestion caused by the school by adding a childcare centre and more vehicles is untenable".

A resident in Condon Street, where many parents drop off and pick up children, said, "This development will only increase the already enormous traffic flow into this tiny cul-de-sac".

"There are already major issues with double parking and illegal parking mornings and afternoon," the resident said.