ACT News

License article

Franklin residents oppose public housing on land next to Franklin Early Childhood School

Gungahlin residents say a planned new public housing development slated for land next to the Franklin Early Childhood School would have a negative effect on education in the area.

The ACT government's public housing renewal taskforce plans to build 29 two-bedroom apartments on one of two possible sites adjacent to the school as part of its efforts to relocate 1288 residents from 13 public housing sites around Canberra.

Members of the taskforce are consulting with the local community about which of the two community-use zoned sites should be developed. They include land near the corner of Bayonas Place and Marie Pitt Street or at the Oodgeroo Avenue and Kilmeny Close roundabout.

Representatives of the parents and citizens association plan to hand out letters at an event with Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Territory and Municipal Services Minister Shane Rattenbury at the Franklin Recreation Park on Friday.

Construction of the homes is expected to begin in the middle of next year and be completed by mid-2017. An information session about the taskforce's plans will be held on December 9 at the Gungahlin Library.

An online petition against the plan has attracted more than 260 signatures. Organisers say use of the land next to the school for public housing would limit the educational options of nearby residents because it would stop the school's enrolments being expanded past the current pre-school to year two status.


Franklin Early Childhood School parents and citizens association president Amy Thomas has called on local residents to attend next week's meeting after a special meeting of parents held this week was attended by about 40 people.

Ms Thomas said people at the meeting did not know enough about the planned development and not all residents had received an information flyer distributed by the taskforce.

The association is distributing 3000 of its own pamphlets to Franklin residents, including a reprinted version of the public notice.

"It will have a direct effect on the residents of Franklin and their schooling," Ms Thomas wrote this week.

"You may be aware of the rapid population growth in the Gungahlin region, and in Franklin itself. Schools in the areas are at or near capacity, which has an impact on choice of schools and children's learning outcomes.

"We have been lobbying to keep the same early childhood model, but to use the surrounding land for years 3 to 6. Adding another 29 apartments to an already under-pressure education system is a concern to our community."

The opposition comes as the government plans to replace outdated housing stock over five years on a roof for roof basis. Housing Minister Yvette Berry has committed to continuing Canberra's "salt and pepper" method of distribution.

Last month, government-commission polling of 1400 Canberrans suggested more than seven in 10 did not oppose public housing in their local area, while two thirds support the redevelopment of Canberra's outdated housing stock.

It followed objections to development for a 14-unit development next to the Gold Creek Primary School. About 200 public submissions from residents raised concerns about property values, crime, safety, a lack of medical facilities and any loss of open space from the plan.

Sales of former housing sites, including on Northbourne Avenue and the Currong Flats, will attract the federal government's 15 per cent bonus for sales of public assets. The revenue will help the government fund its $783 million city to Gungahlin tram line.