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School siting battle bows to compulsory takeover

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FOR THOSE READERS who do not keep an eagle eye on the complicated relationship between QPRC and the NSW government re the siting of a new high school in Bungendore, news flash: Council has bowed to compulsory acquisition of land and buildings to fulfill the state government’s vision placing the new high school on and around Bungendore park.

As an editorial comment we can add that the central Bungendore site requires significant changes and costs for existing infrastructure — not least demolition or repurposing of an expensive new council office and hall building — remember that one?  

This school siting came to life as the former member for Monaro apparently sought a quick 2023 election announcement: ‘look what our party did for you’. Only need to rearrange much of central Bungendore; build a new school; have it staffed and full of students in less than 12 months. 

Here is some detail on the compulsory acquisition from a press release by QPRC earlier in the month

Councillors noted the proposed Majara-Gibraltar precinct site presents many challenges and there are strong opinions both in favour and against.

Council noted the gazettal and completion of the compulsory acquisition of land by the Department of Education for the proposed Bungendore High School and authorised the CEO to progress the delivery of a new office building, pool and community facility and provision of land for the Abbeyfield housing proposal.

As part of the compulsory acquisition process, Council is entitled to be compensated for the loss of the land and buildings acquired by the Department of Education and for costs associated with moving Council activities and services from current locations. Importantly, Council is now in a position to negotiate with the Department of Education about items that were not included in the current compensation process; which includes the Majara Road Reserve and the Library.

The Bungendore High School proposal is a NSW Government state significant development, and Council is not the consent authority. The development application process is in progress and can be viewed on the NSW Major Projects website at www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/major-projects/projects/new-high-school-bungendore

Council staff will now proceed with preparation of a development application for the construction of the proposed new administration building in Gibraltar Street, Bungendore and the design and approvals for the construction of the new pool at the Bungendore Sports Hub.

Council will also negotiate for shared use of Mick Sherd Oval by the high school for their sporting activities, if and when required, ensuring that access for sporting clubs and recreational user groups is maintained.

Council remains committed to ensuring the plans for the specialised accommodation services provided by Abbeyfield are not compromised by this project and will continue discussions regarding the suitability of the northern section of Majara Street for their proposed development.

The full resolution and webcast of Council’s meeting are available on Council’s website: https://www.qprc.nsw.gov.au/Council/Council-Business/Council-Meetings

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One thought on “School siting battle bows to compulsory takeover

  1. QPRC declines to give a reason for opposing the site chosen for a high school at Bungendore by the Department of Education.

    Council will only say that “a more suitable site would be available in Bungendore”.

    Council voted to oppose the chosen site in January.

    The conclusion that must be drawn is that the reason for opposing the chosen site is invalid.

    However, Council considers itself to be above public scrutiny.

    At the March 2019 state election, Labor made a commitment to a high school at Bungendore for the start of the 2023 school year.

    Labor asked the Minister for Education on June 7: “Is it the Government’s policy that 2019 election commitments to school projects need to be completed by the end of the current term of parliament (March 2023)?”

    The Shadow Minister for Education, Ms Prue Car, declines to disclose whether it is now Labor policy to oppose the chosen site for Bungendore high school because “a more suitable site would be available”.

    Ms Car is prevented from revealing Labor policy because Council declines to provide a reason for opposing the chosen site.

    Council provided 58 “Recommended Conditions of Consent” to the State Government on October 29 2021, when lodging its objection to the chosen site.

    Council resolved at its meeting on October 27 2021 that “subject to satisfactory resolution of these [“Recommended Conditions of Consent”] items Council may withdraw its objection to the proposal”.

    Council declines to disclose whether these 58 recommended conditions have been satisfactorily resolved.

    Presumably, these conditions are being met or exceeded.

    This would explain Council’s non-disclosure of its reason for opposing the chosen site.

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