Neighbour's Noise Complaint Threatening Childcare's Outdoor Play Time
Owners of a Sydney childcare centre are concerned they might lose business, with a noise complaint threatening to cut down the amount of time its children are allowed outside.
Evgenia Ousta, director of Bountiful Childcare in Old Toongabbie, was approached by the local council last week in regards to a complaint about the level of noise made by her students while playing outside.
"Why children are crying, why are they laughing, why they're playing, why the music is on, things like that [are being complained about]," she told 10 daily.
The Western Sydney daycare centre looks after 29 children aged between 18 months and six years each day, and is located in a residential area with houses neighbouring on each side.
The business has been running for the past 10 years, but Ousta took it over a year-and-a-half ago, she said.
Following the complaint, Ousta said it was suggested by the council the childcare develop a noise management plan and she was presented with the Guideline for Child Care Centre Acoustic Assessment.
Produced by the Association of Australasian Acoustical Consultants, the guideline assists local government to assess and manage noise impact from childcare centres.
Among the list of suggested management measures is restricting the total amount of time spent outside in the play area to less than two hours
"That's just horrible," Ousta said.
"Children should have the chance to be both indoors and outdoors as they like, we'd rather children be outdoors than sitting inside on iPads. That's not promoting healthy development."
The childcare director said some of her students are at the facility from 7am until 6pm, and restricting time spent outdoors to just two hours would mean keeping them inside for up to eight hours.
"Being stuck indoors is just not fair."
A City of Parramatta spokesperson confirmed to 10 daily an investigation is underway into the noise complaint made against the centre.
Ousta said the parents she has spoken to about the complaint share her concerns, and feels the guideline is not realistic for a succcessful childcare centre.
"They don't agree with the two hours a day and if that happens they'll be leaving," she said.
"Why should we lose clients for our neighbours. But the main thing I'm fighting for is the health of our children. We aren't going to keep our children inside for eight hours a day to keep our neighbours happy, because these kids are outside developing."
"Who as a person can get angry because a child is outside laughing?"
The recommendations set out in the AAAC acoustic report do not become mandatory unless they are incorporated into a prevention notice issue by council.