Search for school site continues despite setback

The Ministry of Education is pushing ahead in its search for a new school site near Ladies Mile, despite the Queenstown Lakes District Council declining consents for two housing developments in the area.

Education infrastructure service head Kim Shannon said the ministry was still in the early stages of identifying potential options for the location of a new school, and it was working with Queenstown Lakes District Council and other local stakeholders to progress the work.

In April this year, the council voted to decline the Glenpanel-Flint's Park and Laurel Hills special housing area (SHA) proposals, leaving the developments’ backers devastated.

The councillors were unanimous in turning down the contentious 156-home Laurel Hills SHA, while the vote on the two (423 units combined) proposed for the northern side of the arterial road was split - four in favour, six against.

Development backers are still to decide on their next steps.

The ministry is progressing its bid to build a new school in the area because of the growing rolls at existing schools.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins officially approved the establishment of a new 400-pupil school near the Hanley’s Farm development last week.

It was hoped the year 1–8 primary school, to be known as Hanley’s Farm Primary School, would take some of the pressure off other Queenstown schools, where rolls were already stretched to their limits.

Recently, Shotover Primary School principal Ben Witheford said his school’s present capacity was 650 pupils, but that would rise to 900 once a new building was completed.

Projections showed that 900 capacity would be reached in 2022.

Mr Witheford is a strong supporter of the ministry getting ahead of the population growth curve.


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