Kirra Hill in running for title

THE judge of the Helen Josephson Perpetual Trophy for Urban Design Innovation, Elizabeth Watson-Browne, says she “loves a happy ending”.

So do the hundreds of supporters and members of the Save Kirra Hill Inc committee, led by resident Jan Derbidge.

The Kirra Hill site, previously home to the Coolangatta Special School and Coolangatta Primary School, was last week named one of two winners of the prestigious design award for 2009.

The historic school building is being renovated to provide community meeting rooms, after a grassroots campaign to save it from redevelopment.

Currumbin Valley's Ecovillage Highlands precinct and old dairy also picked up a gong at the urban design awards.

Ms Watson-Browne detailed the community campaign, which kicked off in 2004, when it was announced the special school would be vacating the Kirra Hill site.

The campaign forced the Queensland Government to donate the hilltop land and school buildings to the Gold Coast City Council.

Ms Derbridge said the award was “fantastic for the school site and the people of the southern Gold Coast who fought so hard to save it”.

The awards are a council initiative named in honour of architect and urban designer Helen Josephson.

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