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Carrara college's 30 percent « Previous | |Next »
May 15, 2009

If you restrict a school's operating hours to 8am to 3.05pm, would you be excising roughly 30 percent of average school operating hours?

Just trying to get a thirty percent angle out of this.

Following up on the earlier post on the conditions the Gold Coast City Council is imposing on a college they approved at Carrara. Keysar Trad was quoted in the Gold Coast Sun article, so I emailed him to find out why the council required the school to give up 30 percent of its land. He's quoted here with permission.

Council owns 40 metres of land including a creek which separates the college's land from the Dream Centre Church property on the opposite side.

That area is a core flood zone. Council has a guideline somewhere about creating 100 metres for residents to create a bridal way, a walkway and a cycle way for recreational activities.

They are seeking to do that by taking 30 metres (along the length of our land which in total ends up being approximately 30% of the land) and requiring us to pay all the associated excise and transfer costs. They are not offering to purchase the land, they are demanding that land and demanding that we effect expensive improvements to that land.

I may be wrong, but to my knowledge schools aren't generally expected to provide public recreational facilities on land they own, but cannot use. Council's developer friends usually benefit from the council's generous provision of infrastructure and sundry public goods.

Last year, Council gave approval for the Dream Centre Church to make some alterations to their land and reallocations without requiring the Dream Centre to give 30 metres like they require of us.

Residential area. Chair of City Planning, Cr Ted Shepherd: it's nothing to do with religion. Residential area.

We are offering to keep that land and create an environmental corridor where we would plant native trees, shrubs and flora which will allow the natural wildlife to return and to maintain that land, but without relinquishing title.

We had a meeting today and we put that offer on the table. We discussed the other operational matters and you are quite right, even a fete would require a written application 30 days in advance, and this along with the other conditions would be restrictive and inoperable.

To say that we should face these restrictions because it is in a residential area does not wash. Every school I have been to is in a residential area.

An environmental corridor is a nice idea and an educational resource, and it's true, the residential area excuse is limp. There's clearly something a bit arbitrary going on here, even giving the council the benefit of the doubt on the religion thing.

Trad points out that the other restrictions will prevent the school from running the kinds of open community activities that might put residents at ease. The conditions would force the school to behave differently to other schools, which is exactly what it, and nearby residents, don't need.

I would also think that the education department would have expectations and guidelines about schools providing reasonable access for parents and other 'stakeholders'. If parents have concerns about their kids they can't just wander into the classroom during school hours. Education department brochures are full of managerialese about community partnerships, parental involvement, local business relationships and so on. How is a school supposed to do all of that if it's only allowed to be 70 percent of a school?

| Posted by Lyn at 9:10 AM |