The Ballarat region's childcare centre boom shows no signs of abating with plans lodged for yet another centre - the third new centre proposed in just the past six weeks.
This week plans have been lodged with council for a $970,000 childcare centre at 423 Cobden Street in Mount Pleasant, next to Mount Pleasant Primary School.
And on Tuesday it was revealed that Clunes Primary School will be home to one of 50 government-owned and operated childcare centres, with its new facility expected to open in 2026.
A Victoria University report released earlier this year declared the Creswick-Clunes area a "childcare desert" where demand far outweighs the number of childcare places available. Since then, plans have been lodged for a new childcare centre at 135 Napier Street and the new Clunes centre has been announced.
But with the boom in childcare centres, the sector is struggling to attract enough staff, with more than 50 childcare educator, assistant director, early learning centre kindergarten teacher and other related jobs currently advertised within 50km of Ballarat.
The 1835 square metre site of the proposed new two-storey centre in Mount Pleasant currently contains a weatherboard house and sheds used as storage for a whitegoods appliance business, which would be demolished to make way for the 96-place centre.
According to planning documents, children will be accommodated in five rooms on the ground floor of the centre with the first-floor area used mainly for staff amenities with office areas and meeting rooms.
Twenty car spaces will be provided on site and accessed via Peady Street with a double width crossing.
The childcare centre would operate from 6.30am to 6pm with a maximum of 10 staff members. Childcare numbers would be staggered throughout the day and it is likely to reach 70 per cent maximum capacity of 67 children during the peak hours of 12 noon to 3pm.
Outdoor playtimes would mainly be staggered between 10am and 12 noon, and 2pm to 4pm.
"The subject site is in a strategic location with well-established infrastructure in proximity," the planning report states.
"The subject (site is a) walkable catchment to public transportation facilities and directly adjoins Mount Pleasant Primary School on Cobden Street, ensuring it is a prime location for a childcare centre servicing the residential community needs."
Soil testing, ordered because of the area's gold mining history, showed low levels of arsenic contamination which can be easily remediated during construction, and only found within areas proposed to be covered by parking areas or hard covered areas.
"The subject site is well serviced by public transport with major bus routes and adjoins Mount Pleasant Primary school allowing for alternative modes of transport and multi-purpose trips," the documents state.