5 May 2008

And who didn't see this coming - closed schools to be bulldozed

| Joe Canberran
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Today’s Canberra Times carries a story by Megan Doherty about the planned bulldozering of several closed school sites and the redevelopment, sorry, “conversion” of several others into “community hubs” and the like.

“The ACT Government will announce today it plans to demolish the former Rivett and Mount Neighbour primary schools, with its consultants recommending aged-care facilities be built on the sites.

It will also reveal a plan to spend $14.1 million on converting the former Cook, Melrose and Weston Creek primary schools into “community hubs”, apparently ending any consideration they might be re-opened as schools.”

I’m not going to quote vast swaths of text from the article (which is quite well written) but it is worth a read (located here: Government to Flatten Schools).

As one Ms Tullis said in the article: “It’s becoming a major election campaign issue and I am not surprised because people do not forget the arrogant way the Government has ripped out the heart of communities,”

or as Mr Seselja said: “The problem is once the bulldozers start coming in, that option is gone,”

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Hang on, supportive housing?? this isn’t another way to say ACT Housing / bernie court / melba flats is it??

I really don’t want to live near one of those sites, I did many years ago….

if the govt wants to be supportive re housing, perhaps they should look at handing back a bit more of the budget to us all. After all, if we had better tax breaks, we could afford our mortgages.

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

Wait – people are unhappy because they closed inefficient, underutilised schools and are now turning them into much-needed community resources like aged care facilities?

I take it you don’t live in Kambah, do you? highest birth rate in canberra, a lot of my neighbors are now moving to other suburbs as they bought their houses “close to schools, shops, public transport etc” and were happy to have their kids take a short walk to school.

There were 4 primary schools and one high school here. now there are 2 primary schools at opposite ends of the suburb.

A bit of a shame that mt neighbor is closed, I hope that they re-deployed the brand new computers, smartboards etc to more deserving schools.

The current government made sure that the public consultation was not at an easy time or location – heaven forbid that I could attend the “consultation” at the right time.

I am seriously considering crossing the border so that my 3 kids have a school to go to.

Back to belconnen I go.

Charnwood High will live forever – In my nightmares.

maybe the ACT Government should show us the enrollment figures for each of the closed schools, and where they got their figures from? The census was in 2006, not 2007.

and one last thing – why is it that reducing schools is applauded now, but it will be on the hit list when the classrooms are overcrowded and our kids are illiterate?

Aged care / supportive housing on land zoned for Community Facility Land use. Sounds good as there will be a great need with the baby boomers needing supportive housing provided by “charities”. A good earner for these “charities”, who are not into providing public housing. It will cost you a minimum of $400,000 (current market value) to get a flat and you don’t have a unit title, the charity pockets the capital gain when you move on.
If the land is not a standard block and more than 30 meters away from the closest residence, no height restrictions (normally 8.5 metres high) and no limit on plot ratio (density) apply. As is normal, inadequate parking provision means that visitors will park on the street.
Battery hen aged housing flats are on the agenda for the school sites, which will be concessional leases donated to the “charity”!

We are at an economic high-point, and 50% (?) of ACT kids go to private schools.

This won’t always be the case. And some of the closures were really mean – Tharwa and Hall especially.

I didn’t see community centres coming. I thought they would have flogged the lot for medium density urban ghetto infil without a piece of grass to be seen.

WMC – you can’t say Cook was underutilised, 147 students out of a possible 150, I think you would find is a lot higher than the average. Those students are now in crappy demountables at either Aranda or Macquarie crossing major roads to get there.

We all knew it was coming, but wouldn’t it have been better if they had of said what was going to happen to the sites when the decision was made to close the schools? Rather than wait 18 months when everyone has forgotten about the agnst the decision caused?

Its political gamesmanship to sell an idea rather than being upfront and able to justify the decisions they make.

Hopefully the “community hubs” will be akin to what happened to Hackett Primary which now runs a pre-school and uses the school facilities for many other community-related activities.

The consultation was a joke though.

I went along (as did many others) to tell the consultants what we thought might be done with the Giralang Preschool site.

It would make a brilliant day-care centre, with many of the facilities already present. There was at least one (non-profit) day-care provider interested in setting up shop, but they couldn’t afford to buy the property.

When I told the consultants they were very nice, but basically said the decision had been made to sell the site. Done deal. So much for consultation. Now they might still decide to sell it for next to nix to a non-profit day-care provider, but I ain’t holding my breath.

Page primary school anyone? Once a suburban school, now the site of aged care villas and town houses. How long until the aged care facilities are demolished and converted into graveyards?

hong-kong hardcore duck – I like your thinking.


I was hoping they would be converted into paintball fields 🙁

This is sensible. The obsolete schools have to be more than a monument to an education system. They’re not exactly the site of the World Trade Centre in terms of moral significance. Raising some funds would be a good idea, if it allows debt to be retired.

Demographics have changed and the air is leaking out of the ACT public education balloon. Retaining shells of schools would tempt vandals and simply remind people of a different time.

What is the problem with re-using the sites rather than having them stand empty for eternity in the hope that demographics ‘might’ change 20 years down the track. Pretty smart move if you ask me.

captainwhorebags12:03 pm 05 May 08

Woody: obviously the expectation is that the schools would stand as empty shrines to a utopian education system long since gone.

Reusing the land to cope with shifting demographics is a wise move in my opinion.

It’s pleasing they’re building more aged care (we need a lot), and they’ll be in central areas, not paddocks in northern Gunghalin. I’m just surprised they’re not flogging the properties off to Developers for more units-with-granite-benchtops. When more details of these “community facilities” emerge, I expect we’ll find that these are unit developments, with the Developers being required to incorporate Community Facilities in them as a condition of being allowed to do the development.

Woody Mann-Caruso11:39 am 05 May 08

Wait – people are unhappy because they closed inefficient, underutilised schools and are now turning them into much-needed community resources like aged care facilities?

With the scorched earth budget problem solved, and a looming budget surplus, on an issue in an election year the Leader of the (ACT) Opposition only has thirteen words to say?

He might as well have just told the reporter “I’m sorry, I’m currently too busy with factional in-fighting to comment intelligently.”

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