19 March 2024

Further consultation needed for updated Bungendore High School application

| Claire Fenwicke
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Artist's impression of a proposed school

An artist’s impression of the proposed Bungendore High School. Image: Department of Education.

An amended state significant development (SSD) application is expected to be lodged by May for Bungendore’s new high school.

This comes in the wake of a December 23 Land and Environment Court ruling that found the school had been planned around an invalid development consent.

But before the amended SSD application is lodged, School Infrastructure NSW needs to tick off several additional requirements.

These include consultation for an updated social impact assessment (SIA) report, and additional site investigation works.

An independent consultant will be contracted to prepare the SIA report and will meet council representatives, conduct targeted stakeholder interviews and distribute an online survey to the community.

The public exhibition period has not yet been announced.

An independent review previously found the Gibraltar/Majara location is “significantly superior” to all others that had been considered.

An update from School Infrastructure NSW explained the amended application would keep the permanent Bungendore High School in the same location and footprint at the precinct.

“The court decision last year determined that landowners’ consent is required from the Minister of Lands and Property (Crown Land) for any elements that involve Crown Land,” a statement noted.

”This includes a new footpath in Mick Sherd Oval, a new PA system for the war memorial, relocating existing field lights into Mick Sherd Oval, modifying the existing in-ground irrigation at the boundary of Mick Sherd Oval, demolition of the existing swimming pool and the construction of a new school hall and new agricultural plot building and driveway crossing to McCusker Drive.

“To deliver the school as fast as possible all of these items will be included in separate planning applications which will be pursued concurrently to the amended SSD.”

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The Planning, Housing and Infrastructure Department will place it on formal exhibition for community submissions once it has been lodged.

School Infrastructure again “sincerely” apologised for the “administrative error” that has caused further delays to the already late and controversial project.

“The department remains committed to delivering the new school at its permanent location as soon as possible, which will deliver world-class learning facilities for the current and future students of Bungendore High School,” a statement said.

“Following public exhibition of the SSD, School Infrastructure NSW will provide a response to submissions received and the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces will make a determination.”

The main works contract will be awarded once final planning approvals have been secured, allowing for more information about the start and completion dates.

As this process ticks along, the fence around the site has been realigned to allow community access to the Bungendore Pool for the rest of the 2024 swimming season.

School Infrastructure NSW representatives are also discussing with the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council whether the pool can remain open for the 2025 swimming season.

Original Article published by Claire Fenwicke on About Regional.

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savebungendorepark8:39 pm 20 Mar 24

Madness is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result.

That so-called “independent review” was an utter whitewash. It was a disgrace. The author didn’t visit Bungendore and didn’t consider anything other than a handful of documents carefully selected DoE staff.

If they had chosen the right site, this whole fiasco would not have happened.

We need a new site, not a new DA.

Greg Cameron7:01 am 21 Mar 24

The government and the opposition agree that the school should be built on the site recommended by the Department of Education (DOE) “as soon as possible”.
The program announced by DOE in its March 2024 “Project Update” describes the necessary steps. However, those behind “Save Bungendore Park Inc.” disagree because they consider DOE is incompetent.
It is contrary to the public interest for the government and the opposition to accept further delay.
The government and the opposition can pass a motion in Parliament in support of the government taking all action required to open the new school on January 27 2026. In the event that an Act of Parliament may be required to prevent further delay, it would be appropriate for Parliament to give its in principle support now.
Were construction to commence by July 1 2024, it may still be possible to open the new school on January 27 2026. It is a goal that warrants Parliament’s full support.

Greg Cameron6:31 am 20 Mar 24

Before last year’s state election, the then Labor opposition went to considerable lengths to examine the details of the then government’s decision to choose the Majara Street site for our new high school. Democracy was well served by Labor’s efforts. At the same time, the then government fully supported Labor’s interrogation.

Informed by Labor’s efforts in opposition, the Minns government is satisfied that DOE selected the best site. As the article shows, the Minns government accepts that mistakes were made, and Minister Car has done the right thing by apologising to the community on behalf of the NSW government.

The Minns government is acting in the community interest.

The current position is that the government and the opposition support the chosen site. Both want the school to be built “as soon as possible”. A bi-partisan resolution of Parliament would be a clear demonstration of Parliament’s support. This could be followed by an Act of Parliament, if required.

Every effort should be made to open the school on January 27 2026.

That leaves Queanbeyan and Palerang Regional Council. It would be good if Council would resolve to support all measures necessary for the school to open on January 27 2026. At present, Council is worrying itself about a security fence and a certain amount of inconvenience.

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