Lyneham residents are appalled at being accused by Brindabella Christian college of conducting a "deceptive and misleading" campaign against the school's plan to build a community sports facility on the neighbourhood oval.
The claim was made in an email as well as a leaflet distributed to residents to explain "misinformation" about its plan, which was withdrawn late last year following anger aired at a community meeting.
The school claims opponents hijacked public meetings about the plan, resorting to personal attacks and shouting to drown out debate.
The issue is expected to create more heated debate on September 15 at a meeting of the North Canberra Community Council.
The meeting will include presentations on the yes and no cases for the proposal, followed by questions from the audience.
A development application was lodged by the school at the end of October last year to build a two-storey sports pavilion and 120-space car park on land next to its site on Brigalow Street.
While the ACT government is not a proponent of the project, it had to endorse the development application as the custodian of the land.
The school leases a section of the oval from the government and wants control of an additional piece of land to facilitate the construction of the community facility.
The Lyneham Community Association fears the sports facility will take over almost one quarter of Lyneham's PRZ1-zoned urban open space.
The association's deputy chair, Rob Wilson, said the use of public land by private companies was a big issue for residents.
"The [Canberra Times] article says the Brindabella Christian College has taken to accusing the community in which the college resides of engaging in deceptive and misleading conduct," he said.
"If the college and the Sports and Recreation Directorate would like to have a public debate on who has been engaging in deceptive and misleading conduct, the Lyneham Community Association would be very pleased to have such a debate with full media coverage.
"We're a bit distressed this is starting to move into attack mode – calling the community where your school is, that you're engaging in deceptive and misleading conduct, is, I think, really appalling.
"I find that terribly sad, that it's coming to this.
"I think they're digging themselves a big hole that has black grease on the sides – they can't get out of it.
"All we want is to do right by our community and all they want to do is take public land away and build an empire – sorry, to me it's not much different to a big developer who wants to put a bunch of units on something.
"We would love to see Brindabella Christian College prosper, build a lovely hall to get their kids out of the rain, on their own land."
Mr Wilson believes the college used a grant under the Building Education Revolution to put a building on their car park.
"Then, without anyone in the community knowing, they went and leased public land right next to the school for a car park which has been a gravel dust bowl for the last few years," he said.
The association will hold a open picnic on the oval on Sunday, September 20.
The college leaflet asks residents to show their support for the proposal on the ACT government website, before the survey closes on Friday, September 11.
The information in the leaflet was also distributed in an email by college board deputy chairman Greg Zwajgenberg, under the heading, "Truth and Lies".
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