High school site deja vu
THE fight to preserve a site for a future high school at Pottsville is on once again, with a fresh application to build new houses on the proposed Seabreeze site before council this week.
Tweed Shire Councillors will on Thursday be asked to vote on a development application lodged by Newland Developers in March to rezone Lot 1747, on the corner of Seabreeze Boulevard and Tom Merchant Drive, to allow it to build 69 residential homes plus three reserves.
The DA comes after Newlands lost an appeal in the Land and Environment Court in January 2017 to build 65 houses on the site, after their original application was also rejected by council.
Newlands, the developer behind Seabreeze, originally earmarked the corner lot as a "potential future school site” on its masterplan, but attempted to change the zoning after the NSW Education Department declined to purchase the land, saying the demographics of the area did not necessitate a second high school on the Tweed Coast.
This is a point fiercely rejected by Pottsville parents, who say the growing population of the village, which already has two primary schools, requires a secondary school.
Council staff have recommended the new DA be refused, saying it is not in the public interest, citing this population demand.
Councillor Chris Cherry said she would argue strongly in support of council's recommendation for refusal.
"The coming online of the Dunloe Park development, behind Black Rocks will bring about another 4500 residents,” Cr Cherry said.
"They do have a masterplan which includes a school site but with Pottsville Primary already at 700 students, 4500 new residents will bring a lot more primary and secondary students and it is likely both a new primary and the existing high school site will be required for this new population.
"The Seabreeze site is central to the Pottsville locality student base, it has been designated since the development started in 2000.”
Cr Cherry said the demand for a high school site in the area was further evidenced by the fact private education institutions had shown interest in purchasing the site.
"The need for more homes in this area will be met by the Dunloe Park development, we need to ensure we have the infrastructure to make it possible for our children to go to school in their own community,” she said.
Pottsville Community Association president Penny Hockings, whose organisation lodged an objection against the new DA, said the issue was the number one long-term concern in the community.
"It is very disappointing they have lodged a DA again,” Ms Hockings said.
"We desperately need a high school, it is something the community has campaigned on for ages, and it is how Seabreeze and Koala Beach estates were sold to buyers and we haven't seen anything happen.”