QASMT Expansion Works in Toowong Raises Environmental Concerns

Photo credit: yoursay.buildingfutureschools.advancingeducation.qld.gov.au

Queensland Academy for Science, Mathematics and Technology – The ongoing QASMT expansion works are currently raising ecological issues for Toowong Creek.

The QASMT expansion is part of the government’s Building Future Schools Fund which aims to deliver new and innovative education infrastructure solutions for growing communities.

For QASMT in Toowong, the expansion’s main goal is to enable the school to accommodate up to 1,200 students by 2021.

QASMT Expansion

QASMT’s proposed new northern learning centre. Photo credit: yoursay.buildingfutureschools.advancingeducation.qld.gov.au

The expansion involves two stages. Stage 1 will be complete by the start of the 2019 school year to accommodate Year 7 students. This stage primarily involves the refurbishment of existing school infrastructure.

QASMT’s proposed new eastern STEM hub. Photo credit: yoursay.buildingfutureschools.advancingeducation.qld.gov.au

On the other hand, QASMT targets the completion of Stage 2 at the start of the 2020 school year to provide accommodation for Years 8 and 9 students. The final stage includes a new northern learning centre and a new eastern STEM hub.

Community Consultation

QASMT expansion’s site plan. Photo credit: yoursay.buildingfutureschools.advancingeducation.qld.gov.au

Following the Department of Education’s community consultation for the said expansion, they have considered the feedback from the community and incorporated them into the updated expansion plans.

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Changes to the expansions include the following:

  • Reduction in the number of additional carparks on-site – additional carparks will be added under the Northern Learning Centre.
  • Removal of a proposed formal carpark accessed via Miskin Street.
  • New kiss and ride facility on Bywong Street to improve traffic flow and access to on-street parking.
  • The location of the Northern Learning Centre has been adjusted to move it further from Toowong Creek.
  • The Eastern STEM Building has been reduced in height to be the same height as the existing buildings.


Environmental Impact

Toowong Habitat Protection Group is one of the major opponents of the expansion. This is mainly due to the ecological impact of the development of new buildings on Toowong Creek.

The group has identified several issues of concern including the development’s effects on the surrounding vegetation and animals as well as the area’s traffic conditions.

Clearing of Multiple Trees

Trees marked for removal. Photo credit: Toowong Habitat Protection Group/Facebook

Furthermore, the habitat protection group says that the development will require clearing of 59 trees. Unfortunately, one of the trees that are subject for removal is approximately more than 300 years old.

Clearing of these trees will certainly affect multiple animal species in the area. Currently, the Toowong Creek, as well as its buffer zone, is a sensitive and significant ecological area. In fact, around seven threatened wildlife species including Tusked Frog, Powerful Owl, and Grey Headed Flying Fox inhabit the proposed building location.

The ring tailed possum is one of the endangered species that is at risk due to habitat clearing. Photo credit: Toowong Habitat Protection Group/Facebook

Loss of habitat is not the only issue that can affect these animals as noise and dust pollution during construction can also significantly affect wildlife behaviour. The group has also cited that “scientific publications/literature shows construction noise depletes frog numbers, reduces reproductive physiology, and induces the likelihood of epidemiologic disease”.

Whilst the group is supportive of the government’s investment in education, their efforts focus on minimising the impact of the new buildings on community and natural assets.

Should you be interested in joining the group’s effort in saving Toowong Creek, you may visit their page to learn more about what you can do to help.

Read more about QASMT Expansion.