New South Wales
I wish to strongly OBJECT to the Upgrade of Mosman High School.
NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE:
Mosman High School has not been fit for purpose for a very long time. It is incorrectly sited and the land area of 14510 sq.m. (less than 1.5 ha.) is far too small to support the number of students and teachers even currently on site. Much of the area is and will be taken up by buildings.
LACK OF SPORTING FACILITIES:
There is very little in the way of sporting facilities available, with students wasting time by having to travel some distance to access even an Oval. Such is the reputation of this High School's lack of space that some local parents send their children elsewhere.
As such, it does not respond “to local demand for educational facilities and will deliver important public social infrastructure that will benefit the local community”.
“Local demand” and “the local community” is a higher economic demographic which expects any high school to provide all facilities on site.
With the increase in students to 1200 and teachers/support staff to 91, this overcrowding situation will become more dire. Changing the building structures will not create a better outcome for a site that is too small for its purpose, lacks facilities and does not meet the Department’s own criteria.
The proposed rooftop “sporting facilities” will still not be enough for sporting teams which add to an all-round education.
TRANSPORT AND PARKING:
Firstly, why was the Traffic study done in November -December, when all the school leavers had finished their HSC year and were no longer at school? These Traffic study dates do not give any confidence that the assessment has been carried out correctly!
This timing would certainly not give an accurate – or fair – estimation of what actually happens with traffic and parking in the immediate area.
Mosman High School is in the middle of a shopping precinct which has a village atmosphere. It is on a main road (Military Road) and main secondary roads (Belmont Road and Avenue Road) which service through traffic to the city, Taronga Zoo and Balmoral Beach and are already grossly overcrowded with cars, and trucks servicing the shops and restaurants.
The Council car parking areas are already insufficient for the number of people shopping and eating at restaurants, which all generates additional traffic.
The Green Travel Plan idea is a myth. Most teachers drive to school and park in the already overcrowded nearby streets - such as where I live.
The parking area in the existing school is completely inadequate and is totally full, having taken over some of the school’s previous playground years ago, with double parking and parking on the grass verge near the school fence.
There is no all-day Council car parking available in the area at all, leaving teachers to find and utilise parking spaces used by residents who live in the vicinity, creating considerable disharmony and loss of amenity to those who actually pay rates. It is already extremely difficult for local residents to park anywhere near their own home.
Yet the Mosman High School Upgrade proposal does not provide any extra parking spaces, even though there is to be an increase in both departmental staff and students.
Further, as soon as students qualify for their Provisional Driving Licence, many drive to school rather than catch public transport or have their parents drop them off, creating additional lack of available parking. This creates an HSC year of drivers, not public transport users or walkers, which was not measured in the transport study.
AFTER HOURS COMMUNITY USE:
The present High School ceased being used for this purpose years ago. Until discontinued it was previously Mosman Evening College. Why would this change once the area is re-developed? There will still be no suitable “team sports” areas, so community use would be minimal and restricted to classroom/lecture style activities.
There are already a number of other under-utilised suitable venues available in Mosman which fulfil this purpose (with adjacent parking areas).
To use the High School after hours, there will still be the existing problems of:-
• security - and associated costs
• insurance issues
• staffing requirements
• lack of parking facilities
• and disturbance of amenity of nearby residents.
The positioning of demountable classrooms (and in all probability construction offices) to take up the present staff car parking area is ludicrous.
Where does the developer propose teachers and staff will park? And indeed, their own construction staff?
Nearby streets are already full and Mosman Council has just yesterday discontinued parking on Mondays in a nearby lane to allow for garbage to be collected. This is clear evidence of overcrowded parking.
Where does the Department propose the students will have recreation areas?
How will teachers teach and students learn, given construction noise levels?
No consideration whatsoever has been given to the affect this construction will have on the amenity of local residents. (Noise, parking, additional cars and heavy construction traffic.)
The four roads surrounding this school area already heavily utilised (and patrolled regularly by Council Parking Rangers).
The number of construction jobs created at any one time will be minimal and last for only a projected two years.
What is relevant is the long-term lack of viability of Mosman High School on the existing site and the huge amount of public money to be spent to upgrade it on this site, when it will still not be fit for purpose once the disruptive rebuilding has taken place. Any Upgrade or rebuilding should provide better full facilities well into the future, not simply regurgitate the past.
OTHER MORE SUITABLE SITE:
The Federal Government has a huge tract of land with existing ovals, sporting open areas and art facilities, etc. at nearby Middle Head. This area already has transport links. Perhaps the Federal and State Governments and Department of Education could meet and discuss acquiring part of this area for a full state of the art new Mosman High School which would have adequate land and facilities and would serve the community well into the future.
This could be funded by the sale of the existing High School site for a suitable use, such as over 55’s accommodation/townhouse/lower rise “village” accommodation.
This would allow the present High School to operate without impediment whilst an entirely new school was being built, and the change-over to happen without problems. Local residents would not be affected by the construction works of the new High School and would end up having a much- needed accommodation village close to all necessary amenities – and a far better educational facility for both students and teachers.