Eglinton Public School parents concerned about future

REPRESENTATIVES: Eglinton Public School's parents and students want land to be available in the future for the school to expand. Photo: PHIL BLATCH 071217pbego2
REPRESENTATIVES: Eglinton Public School's parents and students want land to be available in the future for the school to expand. Photo: PHIL BLATCH 071217pbego2

PARENTS at Eglinton Public School want the owner of land behind the grounds to reconsider plans that would prevent the school from any future expansion.

A discussion forum was held at last week’s meeting of Bathurst Regional Council in relation to the reservation of the land for open space behind the school under a development control plan amendment. 

Council sought advice from the Department of Education in 2010 in relation to the likely future land requirements of the school. 

In 2011, the department told council it supported the identification of 0.91 hectares of land for possible future expansion of the school site.

Following discussions between the land owner, Lester Hewitt of Hynash Pty Ltd, and the Department of Education in late 2016, council was advised the department did not want to buy the land. 

It did, however, ask for pedestrian access to be provided to the school’s western boundary and for a minimum 30 metre access for emergency vehicles.

Council made these changes to the draft DCP.

However, now that the education department does not want the land, the developer wants to put a road along the western boundary of the school instead of having open space. 

Eglinton Public School parent Annette Taylor said having no open space shows a lack of foresight for the future of a school that is already bursting at the seams. 

“Eglinton is the fastest growing area of Bathurst and we need to have the infrastructure,” she said. 

“At the moment we already have classes that are over 30 students – some are up to 34. We have no spare classrooms and we have demountables in the playground.” 

Ms Taylor said the Department of Education didn’t think the school will get more than 550 students, but it is already at 480 students.

Ms Taylor said another 70 students would require three more demountables, which the school does not have room for, and even more students would need to attend Eglinton’s school if the suburb keeps expanding. 

“It is so short-sighted it is ridiculous,” she said. 

Ms Taylor said that even if a draft DCP amendment including open space was approved, it still might not allow for future expansion. 

“You can’t do a development of that size without some green space for kids to play,” she said. 

The only open space would be the area behind the school, which then couldn’t be used for any future expansion of the school. 

“I believe the solution is the department buys the land it had originally gazetted and the developer adds in green space,” Ms Taylor said. 

She said the parents will continue to campaign for consideration of Eglinton Public school’s likely future growth.

“We will keep fighting. We’re not going to take this lying down,” Ms Taylor said.