DCC adds to debate on South Dunedin schools

The Dunedin City Council has added its voice to the debate over the review of south Dunedin schools, calling for the Ministry of Education to consider keeping any unused school grounds for the community.

The council last week voted to ratify a submission on the issue that had been sent to the ministry, which Mayor Dave Cull said would help provide a wider perspective.

Education Minister Anne Tolley started the consultation process last year in response to the 620 surplus pupil places at Calton Hill, Caversham, College Street, Forbury and Macandrew Intermediate schools.

Schools are expected to know their fate by early July.

A report to the planning and environment committee said while the council was not in a position to comment on the educational needs of the area, it was responsible for promoting the economic, social, environmental and cultural wellbeing of residents.

Any merger of the schools would have implications for traffic safety, community and recreation needs and redevelopment.

The submission suggested those issues be considered, and asked the ministry to undertake assessments, and ensure mitigation was put in place.

If school grounds were vacated, the ministry should work with the council to ensure the land and the buildings were "retained for much-needed community recreation use and as a community hub".

Schools were vital community sport and recreation resources in an area of high density with limited open space.

Mr Cull said the council had become involved after meeting schools and boards of trustees, and discovering they were looking at the issue only from an education perspective.

He said the council's submission gave the ministry a wider view on the issue.

- david.loughrey@odt.co.nz


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