A new mega-childcare facility in rural Levin housing more than 100 children has been given the green light.
David Sando and his wife Gaylene Williams of Sando Williams Ltd were given the go-ahead for their latest venture, a new childcare centre on Roslyn Road with a capacity for 117 children.
The couple had nine similar facilities in the lower North Island, including one already established in Levin, and between them had five daughters who were all employed in different capacities in the business.
Sando said it was their passion to provide children with a rural experience they might not normally have, and that included access to animals. He said they would have a pony, chooks, lambs, a goat and a garden on the Roslyn Road three acre site.
"It's a model that works," he said.
"It's a helluva lot of extra expense to build, and we employ a fulltime person to look after the animals and maintenance."
"But it's our passion."
The couple began 30 years ago with a smaller town-based centres. They owned Levin Montessori in Highfield Place, and had Horowhenua Educare in Queen Street before selling that one. They also managed About Kids, a home-based childcare programme.
In recent times they had developed similar-sized centres in Paraparaumu and Upper Hutt. He said any new neighbours were initially unsure of a new childcare centre, they changed their tune in time.
He said childcare centres made good neighbours.
"There won't be anyone having drum practice at night, put it that way," he said.
He said he appreciated the concerns of residents who thought that 32 carparks was not enough to cater for more than 100 children at the site, but in his experience it felt it was enough.
"It's not like a school, where everyone starts at the same time. They stagger in..." he said.
Sando said they policy of employing local staff first. There could be as many as 20 new jobs.
"People want to work for us. They love the rural environment," he said.
An existing dwelling would be developed to house the children aged under two, while there were plans for a new building as numbers grew. The driveway would have different entry and exit points.
The originally looked at six properties before deciding on the Roslyn Road property and lodged an application for resource consent in May this year.
Sando said he had bought the property subject to resource consent being granted. Independent commissioner Rob Van Voorthuysen released his decision granting resource consent at the weekend.
The centre's operating hours would be Monday and Friday, from 7am to 6.30pm.