Working parents drive strong child care demand
CHILD care centre owner Andrew Whatham had such confidence in the demand for services he built a new business essentially in competition with himself.
Mr Whatham opened Green Beginnings Child Centre on Sportsmans Parade at Bokarina in late 2011.
They reached their 75-pupil capacity a little more than a year later.
Then in February last year he opened another 75-pupil centre on the opposite side of Lake Kawana in Innovation Parkway at Birtinya.
They both draw from the same catchment area but he has not struggled to fill them, with both centres currently at more than 90 per cent capacity.
Mr Whatham said he had been looking to the future completion of the Sunshine Coast University Hospital when deciding to expand.
"I'm definitely sure there will be more demand within the Kawana area," Mr Whatham said.
He said the majority of clients were working parents and expected that would continue with the influx of staff required for the new hospital.
Mr Whatham said it was not enough to just rely on an influx of people, with service quality a major factor in maintaining a full book.
Sunshine Coast Council has received 11 applications to open child care centres in the past year.
That was down on the year before when 16 applications to open child care centres were received and approved between August 2014 and August 2015.
Five applications have been approved in the past year and six are still being considered.
The most recent application, lodged earlier this week, was to turn a former Buderim funeral parlour into a child care centre.
Developers hope to use the 5000sq m Wises Rd site to cater for up to 97 children.
A Sunshine Coast Council spokesman said there were about 120 child care centre operating on the Coast.
"The suburbs that have the most childcare centres are Maroochydore/Kuluin, Caloundra, Buderim, Sippy Downs and Nambour," the spokesman said.