Byford kindergarten no longer a fire risk

Byford kindergarten no longer a fire risk

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Byford Community Kindergarten teacher Noela Marshall, committee president Rebecca Watson, student Annika Butchart, Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale president Michelle Rich and committee secretary Kelly Trent. Photograph – Richard Polden.

A local kindergarten has overcome the tribulations of being forced to close due to being deemed a bushfire risk to students and teachers. 

Byford Community Kindergarten was unable to operate from its Park Road home last year after a Department of Fire and Emergency Services bushfire risk assessment completed in March 2017 deemed the property high risk. 

Secretary Kelly Trent said the committee and volunteers had since undertaken the massive job of reducing the fuel load in the surrounding bushland in order to operate again in the 2019 school year. 

“The Byford Community Kindergarten Association had to go into abeyance for the 2018 school year and local families who were wishing to enrol their child at our wonderful facility had to enrol elsewhere,” she said. 

“This took away their experience of having their child attend a community-run kindergarten as there are no other community kindergartens close by.” 

Ms Trent said the kindergarten had recently received two grants from the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale, one for $1500 for the bushfire works, and a further $5910 for landscaping works, reticulation and a footpath. 

“Providing we have the community’s full support we feel that the Byford Community Kindergarten can successfully service the young children of Byford and surrounding areas for years to come,” she said. 

Shire President Michelle Rich said the shire worked with the Department of Education, the kindergarten and Byford Bushfire Brigade last year to address the bushfire risks identified in the assessment. 

The works carried out to rectify the issues included the installation of ember protection screens to the windows and doors, removal of evaporative air conditioner and replacement with split units and formalising a second vehicular access route in case of an emergency. 

Ms Rich said it was fantastic to see children enjoying the improved facilities. 

“The kindergarten has been operating for more than 40 years and is a much loved and valued community facility,” she said. 

“It is wonderful to see the outcome of the improvement works and the shire grant which has delivered a safe and accessible play space for our local children.” 

Byford Community Kindergarten students Annika Butchart and James Baker. Photograph – Richard Polden.