Alternative locations considered
In its initial survey from January 2021, the Department has proposed building a new primary school on the site of Indooroopilly State High School, at Ward St and Canarvon St. Information released via RTI has shown that the Department has been planning on this location since at least 2018- which means locals were right to feel the first round of consultation about this location was a bit cynical.
Many residents felt the initial consultation was very limited and not sufficient, so I took this to the Department and Minister and asked them to do more to find the best possible site. I was really pleased that in late-May the Minister got in touch with me to let me know that consultation would be re-opening. They also confirmed they’ve considered more than 60 suggestions for sites including at or around UQ, QASMT, the Tricare site and the disused Toowong Bowls club. They determined that, of these locations, only the Toowong Bowls Club and surrounding area near Perrin Park was suitable, and it was considered in another round of community consultation alongside the ISHS site finishing in July 2021.
The Department pushed back the opening date for the school by one year to ensure time for adequate consultation. I supported this because I’ve been telling the Minister and Department from the get go that it is more important to do this process right than to do it quickly. However, I know this also meant a longer wait for schools facing immense over-crowding pressures.
I held my own community meetings to hear from you during 2021 on top of the Department's own consultation activities. I've also been communicating with hundreds of residents via email. Based on these conversations, I made my own formal submission to the Department, which you can read in full here. After the second round of consultation I made another submission which you can read here.
Many locals weren't keen on either the ISHS or Bowls Club options, and I agree there's significant problems with both. All along, it's been my position that the Department should have acquired new public land on the west side rather than building on existing Council or State government land.
Some commonly raised problems with ISHS included significant traffic and safety issues due to there already being four schools in a small area, loss of access to public green space, flooding issues, concerns about limiting ISHS's capacity to expand in the future. Some commonly raised problems with the Toowong site include flooding and contamination concerns, risks to bat and flying fox populations, impacts on public greenspace and loss of a community facility (the Bowls club land), and traffic concerns.
In December 2021, the State Government announced that the new school location would be the former Toowong Bowls Club site. After this, they conducted a round of consultation on a four page "Project Update" which summarised information from their "Concept Master Plan". I made my own formal submission to the Department on these plans, which you can read in full here.
Traffic concerns around the Toowong Bowls Club site
When the Toowong Bowls Club was announced as the preferred school location, my focus was on making sure that the local community received the best outcome from this decision. This included making sure it's simple, safe and pleasant for families and students to walk, ride or get the bus to school. To better understand the dangerous areas and possible solutions, my Electorate Office conducted the New School Safe Streets Survey in mid 2022. From the survey, we identified twenty nine high priority pedestrian safety projects and fourteen high priority cycling safety projects. You can read the survey report here and more information about the survey & my proposed improvements here.
Traffic issues around Lambert Rd Indooroopilly
When the new school was proposed for Indooroopilly State High, I committed to working with Council to improve pedestrian safety and improve public and active transport in the Lambert Rd precinct. That commitment remains, even though the school will now be built at Toowong. You can click here to read more information about my proposed improvements. These improvements are based on a large survey of school families which my office conducted in early 2021.