Hard-working parents desperately trying to solve Augusta’s childcare crisis have admitted they feel burnt out and exhausted after their win with the council late last year fell apart. At the first Shire of Augusta-Margaret River meeting of the year the volunteers heard two tenders for the expensive upgrade of the Augusta Recreation Centre came in well over budget, thwarting the project for now. In September, councillors narrowly approved what Cr Ian Earl termed the “Rolls-Royce” option to support a childcare service in Augusta by pledging to redevelop Augusta’s tired Recreation Centre so the not-for-profit community-run group could establish a base integrating services, including seniors outreach. A cheaper option, not wanted by the proponents or a majority of councillors at the time, was now back on the menu. It involved the Shire taking over a Department of Communities’ house on Hillview Road next to Augusta Primary School which the Augusta and Districts Community Childcare group said was too limited for its needs. But the council has unanimously backed a call for the South West Development Commission to help develop the Augusta service “through all potential means” and deliver a report back for consideration. ADCC spokeswoman Jasmine Meagher described the decision as “a major roadblock” and has requested the Shire quarantine the $850,000 in funds initially earmarked for the project. She told the Times the Augusta community was “at breaking point” after a tough summer, worsened by the Calgardup bushfire, with some parents driving 160km daily for childcare places in Margaret River. “We have lobbied hard for a permanent venue at the Augusta Recreation Centre,” she said. “This is an asset owned by the community – a community which wants to see it activated. “This is a beautiful venue that is calling out for a little love and it would be our community’s greatest loss to continue to see it sitting there year after year mostly empty and slowly deteriorating.” A bid to break the project into stages to make it more affordable was not considered by the council. Shire corporate and community services director James Shepherd said the next steps “included consideration of a number of quick options to facilitate the provision of childcare as well as working with the State and Federal governments in relation to funding a long-term solution”.