Delays have marred the opening of a much-needed new inner west primary school, a project first eyed for construction at the former Toowong Bowls Club site. Instead of a Term 1 2023 opening date, the project is still in the planning stage, pending a review of the community’s feedback.
The Department of Education quietly updated the project’s status at the end of January 2023. The change has drawn concern from Cr James Mackay, who pointed out the need for a new school because of the student’s growing population.
“If you’ve been to that school lately you’d know it’s bursting at its seems. Ironside and Toowong schools both have more students than they were designed for,” he posted.
“If you dig deep on the government’s website you can find the page about the inner west school. The latest update says ‘A report summarising the feedback received from community consultation will be available soon.’ Note, the community feedback closed way back in May 2022 so I’m not sure what’s going on.”
In 2020, the State Government announced its plans to build a new inner west primary school after 60 years. However, challenges in finding a desirable location have pushed the 2023 opening date to 2024.
Locals expressed during the community consultations that the preferred location was at risk of flooding and could raise environmental and safety concerns as there is an active flying fox colony near the former Toowong Bowls Club. The location was further compromised after the February 2022 flooding.
However, acting Education Minister Leanne Linard said that inner west schools are still operating below capacity thus the pressure to complete the project has tempered off.
Although this doesn’t mean that the schools’ population will stop growing thus overcapacity should still be addressed before classrooms become full, according to Greens MP for Maiwar Michael Berkman.