Parents and supporters had gathered at the Manningham offices and on the steps of parliament house, to express their anger at the prospect of losing their primary school for the sake of council’s high rise strategy.
The Doncaster, Council Street, primary school land looked likely to be the first casualty under the state government’s rationalisation program because it was located smack bang in the centre of the prescribed high rise zone of Manningham’s Doncaster Activity Centre Town Centre Project back in1994. However the document did give an assurance that primary school would be retained somehow and indicated an alternative site further north towards Turana Street. “Although assurances have now been given that the school will remain in its present location in the Doncaster Hill strategy, it will eventually be swamped with traffic generated by much larger developments in the future than what was previously envisaged and might have to be relocated because of child safety issues, the ingress and egress problems and long queues associated with developments in Council Street and beyond”
according to independent traffic consultant Keeble Wilson.
The school will benefit from the construction of a third departure lane in Council Street. This lane is necessary to accommodate peak traffic on Friday evenings and on weekends due to the commercial nature of the development. The lane is to try to alleviate congestion around the school during the current parent drop off and pick up times. ( cars backing from angle parking and blocking a traffic lane) In a submission to the amended application the school raised an issue that no safety barriers were proposed where Council Street was being widened in front of the school gates reducing safety. However, Council Street is thought to be much too narrow to be servicing all other major developments, as well as the extensive residential areas, in the northern precinct.
The school had objected to the Bunning’s proposal (sketch on left) on the above basis and the apparent absence of attention to risk management, safety to the children and traffic management around the school (including access, parking and attendance for school).
It should be noted that the Doncaster Primary School is more than just a school, as it provides for a significant number of community organisations that use the school on evenings and weekends. As a school it has 500 enrolments from 390 families, 52 staff and up to 50 volunteers on a daily basis. The school provides before and after school care commencing at 7am until 6.30pm school days, and an after school sport programs that commence at 8.15am and concludes at 4.30pm.
The angle parking in front of the school is now under pressure from short term parking demand which was causing parents to drive well beyond the school entrance in Council Street and into side streets to park their vehicle to pick up or drop off children. Bunnings, to their credit, have recognised the problem and have provided a temporary parking area, in the period before construction, for parent parking between the hours of 8.30 am to 9.30 am and 2,30 pm to 4,30 pm.
There are very real concerns of how Council Street will cope with the traffic and parking over spill generated by the Bunnings store and its 385 apartments when they are completed…. already there are long traffic queues waiting to exit Council Street during peak periods. Given the size and location of this huge development and the above issues you’d have thought that Manningham council would have sought a second opinion by engaging an independent consultant before considering the permit application.
Thank you Nick for photos and additional info.