Plans to build a new inner west primary school at the former site of the Toowong Bowls Club are being reconsidered due to several concerns raised by locals, such as flooding and environmental impact.
Plans for New Inner West Primary School
In December 2021, the Queensland Government announced that the former Toowong Bowls Club near Perrin Park has been earmarked for the new primary school, making it the first inner suburban primary school to be built in Brisbane in more than 60 years.
Previously, the Education Department had said that the two rounds of community consultation and significant studies point to the former bowls club as the preferred site and that it is a great location for the proposed new school.
Based on plans, a three-level classroom would be built above the 11m floodline, with main access to be located on Heroes Ave. It was anticipated to open in 2024 and will cater to Prep to Year 6 students.
The State Government is investing $90 million towards the new school and construction will support more than 200 jobs for the local economy.
In a radio interview with ABC Radio Brisbane, Education Minister Grace Grace said she was extremely conscious of negative feedback from the community, especially following the disastrous flooding earlier in 2022.
During the floods earlier this year, the former Toowong Bowls Club was left more than 2 metres under water. Several streets nearby, such as Josling St, were also closed due to flooding.
Aside from listening to the concerns of the community, Ms Grace also asked the department to study the flood problems at the site. Other concerns raised, aside from flooding, included traffic congestion and significant loss of green space, as well as impact on the flying fox colony located in Perrin Park.
Greens MP Michael Berkman welcomed the department’s decision, adding that they still have his support, given that there’s still a need for a new school in the inner west in the very near future.
Mr Berkman is pushing for a site near to where Taringa State School was before being sold off in 1997, that’s close to the train station and other public transport links.
“I’ve been clear from the outset that neither the Toowong site nor ISHS were appropriate, and that the Department should have commenced planning and found a suitable site much earlier. This has consistently been the focus of my submissions and discussions with the Department about the location,” he said.
Mr Berkman is also inviting members of the community to have their say if they have an idea for a new school site in Taringa that’s big enough to allow buildings and play space, close to public transport, and doesn’t result in a loss of public green space. Those who have suggestions can send an email to Mr Berkman at email@example.com.
Feedback, which was gathered from 18 April to 8 May 2022, will be considered in the ongoing planning for the school.