June 20, 2012
The South Burnett Regional Council will gauge community feeling about selling 40 per cent of Kingaroy’s Sir Charles Adermann Park after an approach from St John’s Lutheran Primary School.
The school, which is located adjacent to the park in Ivy Street, is looking for extra land to expand.
At its monthly meeting in Kingaroy today, Council was advised that St John’s is interested in pursuing a co-application with Council to purchase 94 Ivy Street, which southburnett.com.au has been told is about 40 per cent of the park.
At present, the parklands are owned by the State Government and their maintenance is undertaken by the Council.
Cr Cheryl Dalton said she understood the school wanted the land to expand in the future and was in favour of that, because good educational facilities were an essential part of attracting new residents to the region.
“St John’s is a good school and they want to expand into a Junior Secondary Campus in a few years,” she said. “The park is a logical space for them to expand into.”
But Council’s General Manager Infrastructure John Kersnovski said he opposed the idea, as did former Kingaroy Shire Councillors Lesley Trout, Keith Kratzmann and Les Lind who attended today’s meeting and asked him to put their point of view to Council.
“A great deal of money and community work has gone into this park over many years,” Mr Kersnovski said. “It was set up to honour one of Kingaroy’s most famous men and it’s a very popular local park with residents who live nearby.
“I’m not against the school expanding, but I really think they should consider other options. One of those might be buying up houses that come onto the market in adjoining streets.
“At the very least – if Council agrees with this proposal – then they should remove Charles Adermann’s name from the park and find another more suitable park to name after him.”
Cr Barry Green said that although he was initially inclined to agree with Cr Dalton, after hearing Mr Kersnovski’s feelings he found he was torn on the issue. Cr Dalton then suggested Council agree to lay the matter on the table for the present until it could consult with the community about the idea.
The Council then voted to do so.
This afternoon St John’s principal Helen Folker told southburnett.com.au the school had first thought of the idea “two to three years ago” when former SBRC Mayor David Carter floated the idea that the Council wanted to look at better uses for its parklands.
Cr Carter had called for expressions of interest on the subject and the school had put the concept to him.
“We’ve applied to the Non-State Schools Accreditation Board to expand into a Junior Secondary Campus in the future,” Ms Folker said.
“And while we won’t know if this particular application will be approved for several months yet, if it is we hope to be able to do this by about 2015.
“But looking even further ahead, we’d also hope to be able to offer a full secondary campus at some time in the future.”
Ms Folker said the land the school was interested in acquiring was the smaller of the two leases which make up the park and would stretch about 70m over the full length of the block.
“This would leave the existing toilet blocks, playground and large open area untouched. The public would still have full edge-to-edge access and all the park’s important amenities would be retained,” she said.
Ms Folker said the prime advantage for Council would be that its maintenance costs would be reduced. As well, the expansion of the school would increase the number of educational options in the region.
However, she said that while taking over part of the park was one option the school was pursuing, it wasn’t the only one.
If the school’s application to Council was unsuccessful, other ideas St John’s could consider would be fitting new buildings into its existing 4ha campus; acquiring nearby residential properties when they came on the market; or even establishing a separate secondary college at another location.
“We appreciate the importance of Sir Charles Adermann in Kingaroy’s history and I know the park is popular with local residents,” Ms Folker said. “Every morning when I come to school there’s always people using it.
“But Council called for expressions of interest so we’ve put this idea in, and we’ll have to wait to see what everyone thinks.”
UPDATE June 26: The area the school is considering purchasing is Lot 69 RP221281 (94 Ivy Street) which is 0.7109ha, 36.7 per cent of the total Adermann Park area of 1.9359ha