Central Coast Local Planning Panel has approved plans for an extension to Epicentre San Remo Neighbourhood Centre.
The panel met on July 23 to deal with a development application (430/2019) for additions to the Centre owned by Central Coast Council.
Applicant was Centre Manager, Cr Jillian Hogan, and given the potential for perceived conflict of interest, assessment of the application was undertaken by an independent planning consultant rather than Council officers.
The Centre is near Northlakes Shopping Centre and opposite Northlakes High School, at 28 Brava Ave.
The development application sought approval to construct an extension at the north-western end of the Centre, with its own independent entrance at the south-western corner of the building.
Manager, Cr Jillian Hogan, said the Centre had busted out at the seams as demand for services and support increased.
“Existing space for professionals to work has limited our activities and programs,” she said.
“The new extension, which is suitably called the Lava Room, will provide two counselling rooms and an activity space, as well as storage.
“Counselling rooms will be fitted to health standards to enable our existing General Practitioner, Youth Health Clinic and Headspace Outreach Clinic to continue under health guidelines.
“The GP Clinic and Headspace Outreach have been provided for young people for nearly a decade and they have been a highly successful partnership between services and schools.
“It was the work of our Youth Support Workers (LINKS Youth Services) which recognised the need for services that are local, accessible and relevant.
“As a result, we lobbied government for a Headspace service in the north, which is now located at Lakehaven.”
Cr Hogan said Youth Health and Headspace provided a broad range of services that addressed the needs of young people’s physical and mental health.
“We recognise the impact on young people and families when considerable time is spent gaming and screen time is increasing through the use of technology,” she said.
“This is a particular concern often raised by parents, thus the Lava Room will provide an alternative, as well as opportunities to socialise with each other in an environment which is safe and supportive.
“Never one to wait around for infrastructure to be built for them, people at San Remo Neighbourhood Centre have led the way with constructing several infrastructure projects, including a men’s shed, community gardens, a youth facility, playgrounds and many more,” Cr Hogan said.
“The Epicentre is a great example of place making and place based servicing, where all people are welcome and have a sense of belonging.
“The Lava Room will also allow us to build on existing service provision and provide more wraparound services.
“We currently provide family and youth services, financial, gambling and personal counselling, legal aid, tax help, emergency food, utility, COVID and bushfire relief, parenting programs, arts and cultural programs, exercise classes, men’s shed, op-shop and a whole range of programs that address people’s cultural, physical, mental and social well-being.
“The extension will be modern and funky and will provide the space for other services to see clients locally.
“We will also bring in new services such as a psychologist and social workers, which are in high demand due to the recent natural disasters and the pandemic.
“The Lava Room will bubble away with new and existing programs that strengthen and build community capacity,” Cr Hogan said.
Sue Murray, Merilyn Vale