After receiving a response to my letter to Ian Kaye, member for Greenslopes, and attending the Whites Hill State College P&C meeting to listen to Steve Minnikin, Member for Chatsworth (my electorate), talk about the sale of our much loved and used school oval, I feel that we are just going to keep hearing the same thing until sitting members feel the heat of the locals’ unrest!
There are many reasons why we as a community want to keep our school oval:
- it is used weekly by the Gateway District High Schools and the Lytton District Primary schools for inter-school sport;
- it allows for growth into the future and ensures plenty of room for sports and all children to be able to participate at the same time, unlike at some other local overcapacity schools;
- it is part of a precious Sugar Glider Corridor and regularly has koalas and other native wildlife in the well-established trees that form the surrounds of the playing fields;
- Brisbane is already well behind both Sydney and Melbourne cities with the amount of green space in the inner city areas and the sale of this green space is in contradiction of the Brisbane City Council plan.
As a community we are also concerned about what may be done with the land if it is sold by the State Government:
- There is an overland flow of floodwater across the dead centre of the land. If sold to developers, what impact would this have? Long term locals recall the creeks which used to flow around the grounds of the then-Whites Hill State School and Camp Hill State High School. Nearly all of these are now confined as best they can be to inside storm water drains which cannot cope with the large flow in rain events.
- What will happen to neighbouring properties which already experience flood waters gushing over the roads and sometimes into homes? If the land is developed into town houses or other high to medium density housing as so much of the area is currently, where will the water go? How much would it cost to prevent flooding of the properties?
- Is now a good time to be selling land for profit? Property prices are at record lows.
- How will the traffic on Winstanley Rd be affected by high to medium density housing construction on the block? Already traffic is bumper to bumper at peak times, sometimes backed up through the school crossing. This is a huge safety concern for children who catch the bus or walk to school and to all parents accessing the school from this entrance.
- How will construction noise affect the learning opportunities of our children attending the school? Months of construction could affect a whole year worth of schooling or chances for university entry – imagine nail guns, beeping truck signals, earth moving equipment during year 12 exams, QCS (university entrance) or NAPLAN! Try learning to read in the early years of schooling with banging and crashing from construction work to distract you!
- What will happen when the demographics of the area cycle again to have more young families and enrolments climb? Our area is getting more and more medium and high density residential zoned streets, which can only increase the number of school aged children in the suburbs.
Deputy Mayor and Councillor for the Chandler Ward Adrian Schrinner has said in correspondence that he ‘would be very disappointed to see the sports fields lost’, and that he hopes the State Government ‘have a change of heart’ in regards to the sale of the oval, while Steve Minnikin MP for Chatsworth has said he cannot support that view.
A group of almost 70 locals met last Friday night to find out more about the sale and express their concerns. From this meeting the Save Whites Hill State College Oval community action group has emerged. If you are interested in joining us in the fight to keep our school oval, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit our blog and you can also find us on Facebook ‘Save Whites Hill State College Oval’ group.
Most importantly please sign our petition and contact your local member to let them know how you feel about our school land being sold!
Author: Kerryn Loose-Jones
Kerryn is a mum to a current Whites Hill State College student and two future WHSC students, sister of a past Camp Hill State High School student and daughter of a foundation year 1 student of Whites Hill Primary School.
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