School expansion ‘not so smart’

Concerns over QASMT expansion

TOOWONG residents appear to have had a small win in their battle against a bid to double the size of the local selective high school.

But they remain deeply concerned about the traffic impact of plans to start taking junior students at the Queensland Academy for Science, Mathematics and Technology (QASMT), one of the original so-called Smart State academies.

The school is currently years 10-12 only, but from 2019 to 2021 will progressively start taking Year 7s. By the beginning of 2021 it will be a years 7-12 campus with 1200 students.

Maiwar state Greens MP Michael Berkman, said it appeared plans to remove native trees for a carpark might now be amended, but he was concerned about traffic because many students would be from outside the catchment.

“We also have problems with State Government money being spent on a selective school when the westside has so few state high schools,’’ one resident said.

Greens MP for Maiwar, Michael Berkman. Picture: AAP/Dan Peled


But Iris Wild, a zoologist, said her major concern about the expansion of the school, one of the original “Smart State’’ academies, was the impact on the Toowong Creek catchment.

“Given that the northern and eastern boundaries of the school are surrounded by riparian (creek-front) zones, along which various buildings and a further car park are proposed, we have serious concerns,’’ she said.

“The catchment is of vital significance as it is the only Brisbane catchment or wildlife corridor connecting Mt Coot-tha State Forest with the Brisbane River.

“This wildlife corridor boasts the largest number of species of microbats of all the catchments in Brisbane.

“Some 50 species of birds have been recorded navigating this area, directly adjacent to the school, including a vulnerable species.’’

She said noise had been shown to have similar effects to habitat clearing, so even if the initial plans for the car park expansion were changed wildlife could still be harmed.

Other residents, who did not wish to be named, said they were upset at the lack of public notification.

They claimed only about 20 people attended the one and only information session held so far because only neighbouring properties were letterboxed.

A Department of Education and Training (DET) spokeswoman said the community consultation included meetings with the school and school community representatives, the public information session, the letterbox drop and material sent to more than 250 residents and property owners.

There was also a project web page and direct written and verbal communication with community members.

“The department has incorporated feedback from the community consultation process and included relevant elements in the design of the new infrastructure,’’ she said.

“This includes feedback on parking, traffic management, the oval, vegetation, timing of construction and site constraint issues.

The DET response did not address residents’s traffic or environmental concerns.


July 6, 2018


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