Baby, come back

ALARMING SURVEY: Lack of facilities driving parents away
WHERE TO GO?: Corowa mum Jess Colman is on maternity leave from her Wangaratta job, and will choose between Wangaratta and Albury when deciding where to shop with daughter Molly, 3, and her second child, due in five weeks. She says a lack of family-friendly baby care facilities in the rural city means Albury wins hands down – and many locals feel the same way. PHOTO: Luke Plummer

A LACK of baby care facilities in Wangaratta’s central business district is driving many parents of young children to shop in Albury.

The trend has been highlighted in a survey conducted by council and local health services, which sought parents’ views on the availability and standard of facilities for families in the city’s centre.

And Business Wangaratta chairman Gary Gourlay said the group planned to investigate ways to address the issue after hearing about the potential impact of a lack of facilities on local business.

The survey was conducted by the Rural City of Wangaratta, in partnership with Ovens and King Community Health Service (OKCHS), Northeast Health Wangaratta’s lactation clinic and Women’s Health Goulburn North East (WHGNE), in response to concerns raised during an urban engagement initiative in January.

Developed to determine whether the needs of parents with babies and young children were being met in Wangaratta, the survey’s overall results were anything but positive.

Barbara Young, a health promotion officer with OKCHS, said 103 people had responded to the survey, an uptake which illustrated the “intensity of feeling” about the issue among a traditionally time poor demographic.

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