The Chronicle 16 June 2015 Georgina Connery
Inner South residents are urging the ACT government to assess several alternative sites for a childcare facility currently slated to be built on the sports fields of Telopea Park School. Inner South Combined Community Council president Gary Kent said it was important an alternative solution was found soon as the lingering issue was aggravating the community. “The matter wasn’t handled well from the beginning,” he said.
“The ISCCC intends to work toward finding an alternative site for MOCCA but doesn’t believe an acceptable solution is for Telopea School to lose that land.” Mr Kent said the messy land swap had been further complicated by the government s initiation of a 10-year master plan for Telopea Park School. He said if the government moved forward with the master plan process that would be a sign of bad faith. If we are all genuine about finding another site for MOCCA and allowing the school to stay as it is, why would we be worrying about a master plan? he said. “There is a substantial section of the community that think the offer to give the land back to the school is a charade and that the government believes an alternative site cannot be found.
As part of the hunt for an alternative site the ISCCC has been in discussions with elected members, the Land Development Authority and the ACT Education Directorate. “The Education Directorate have told me they are actively looking for other sites,” he said. “I have to believe they have been genuine in those discussions.
An Education and Training directorate spokesman confirmed work was continuing on the school s master plan. A preferred landscape master plan option is expected to be presented to the school executive and school board for approval in early to mid-August 2015, the spokesman said. This will also identify the priority works to be undertaken as part of the $800,000 funding to be provided to the directorate by the Land Development Agency.
Urban Renewal coordinator general Dan Stewart said the Chief Minister had given an undertaking to assess other sites, but at this stage no other site had been brought forward to the directorate. However, the government has undertaken a search for appropriate sites over a wider search area, he said.
Any consideration of an alternative site will involve consultation with MOCCA and the community. In the meantime, work is still being undertaken to prepare the tennis court site for the development of a childcare center.