School Sites

FUTURE USE OF FORMER SCHOOL SITES

ACT Government Stakeholder Engagement 2007-2008

PROJECT AIM

The project consulted with a wide cross-section of communities about the future use of the former school sites that the ACT Government had announced would be closed.

Consultations formed part of a larger project to consider alternative uses for the former school sites, taking into account strategic issues, government policy, social and economic issues and community preferences by:

  • Addressing the availability of, and demand for, community facilities in an equitable manner across the Territory
  • Support the Government’s Land Supply Principles, in particular, that it achieved optimal benefits for the community
  • Deliver a return for the Territory to support other fiscal needs
  • Support the principles of the Spatial Plan, notably how the Territory locates new residential areas and community facilities close to town centres and transport routes
SCOPE OF WORKS

Purdon Planning were engaged to undertake the following:

  • Develop a communication strategy for community engagement
  • Deliver a comprehensive report recommending specific outcomes for each of the
  • Deliver recommendations for each site based on consultation outcomes and other evidence
  • Prepare a community consultation report summarising the activities and community responses
KEY ISSUES

This project represented the next stage in an ongoing process of change and evolution in Canberra aimed at ensuring that the social infrastructure reflected evolving needs and changing levels of service provision.  The history and ongoing community concerns about the former school sites added a measure of complexity to this project. It’s successful completion required a rigorous, well planned approach to the various aspects which needed to be well integrated and appropriate to the needs of the community to be meaningfully involved in this project.

Key issues taken into account for this project were:

  • Relevant policies. Characteristics of the sites and the buildings.
  • Demand for sites for other uses
  • Planning and use
  • Community attitudes
  • Openness and transparency with an appropriate messages and approach
  • Adopting an Issues Management Approach
SPECIALIST SKILLS UTILISED

Purdon Planning drew on in-house expertise to facilitate workshops and manage the consultation tasks.

Consultations were held in 15 district communities across Canberra. Consultations included large group workshops, as well as (second round) community displays of short-listed options (for each site) staffed by Purdon Planning. Community inputs and feedback was recorded and publicly summarised.

PROJECT ACHIEVEMENT

The project was one of the largest and most controversial public consultations undertaken by the ACT Government. Purdon Planning’s work outcomes included:

  • Reporting to Senior government officials and Ministers
  • Advice on Strategic directions for each school site
  • A detailed documentation of the consultation process and outcomes
  • Government implementation of Purdon Planning  recommendations
  • Purdon Planning subsequently won both a Territory and National PIA awards for the project