It's now or never for Pottsville High
POTTSVILLE residents are being urged to turn up in force and show their support for a high school in the area at a Land and Environment Court hearing at Seabreeze Estate on Monday.
Pottsville and District Community Association president Chris Cherry, who is also standing for council as an independent candidate, said it was now or never for the school site.
"This is our last opportunity to withhold this site, to fulfill that promise to the community that our kids can have a high school here,” Ms Cherry said.
"It's imperative that we retain this land and that Metricon honours their promise to the community.
"It is really important that as many people as possible... come down on site. The Land and Environment Court judge needs to see that this is a really important issue to residents and young families.”
Newland Developers Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Metricon the developer behind the Seabreeze Estate, is appealing a decision by Tweed Shire Council to reject its application to turn a parcel of land originally earmarked for a high school, into more housing.
The developer, which originally marketed the estate with plans for the high school, is seeking approval to build an additional 65 houses on the 6ha site cornering Seabreeze Blvd and Tom Merchant Way, after the NSW Education Department declined to purchase the lot saying there was no need for a second high school on the Tweed Coast.
But Ms Cherry said it was "only a matter of time” before the department overturned that decision, with figures showing 335 students from Pottsville and Hastings Point currently travelled away to high school.
That figure is set to grow by 600 students over the next 15 years.
"You only have to look at the geographic location of all the other high schools and realise we've got a big population down here and no high school,” she said.
Ms Cherry said it would be a shame to lose this site now, with the Education Department undertaking to provide a definitive answer on their intentions for a Pottsville high school by September this year.
"So why is Newland rushing this through now?” she said.
"There is a huge push to get this high school here, there are just so many families who want their children to be close.
"They don't want their children to be travelling an hour on the bus every day each way, it makes a big difference to families' lives.”
Tweed Council planning director Vince Connell said councillors felt strongly they should defend their decision to place a moratorium on development of the site due to ongoing community concern. He said there was no other suitable parcel of land for a high school in Pottsville at this stage.
The hearing will begin at 10am on Monday, August 15, on site.
* What: Land and Environment Court hearing
* When: 10am, Monday, August 15
* Where: Cnr Seabreeze Blvd and Tom Merchant Way, Seabreeze Estate, Pottsville
* Contact: Chris Cherry, Pottsville Community Association, email: firstname.lastname@example.org