By Jonathon Davidson
The WA Planning Commission has passed once abandoned plans to build a new Doubleview Primary School on the existing school oval.
The proposed developments were scrapped in May this year, but have now been approved by the Metro North-West Joint Development Assessment Panel after an apparent change of plans from the Education Department.
The annexure will eliminate roughly 25% of public space available in Doubleview, which is Greater Perth’s third most densely populated suburb according to Australian Bureau of Statistics 2013-14 data.
The existing Doubleview Primary School buildings will be redeveloped into a new facility for International School WA, a private education entity currently located in City Beach which caters to expats and offers students schedules that align with overseas systems.
The existing International School site at City Beach will be upgraded into a public high school by 2020, according to the Department of Education.
Constituents only had 21 days to lodge comments to the City of Stirling for the plans, which will force a number of sports groups to relocate and remove a number of adult Tuart trees, intended to be protected under City of Stirling Council policies.
Leisha Jack, founder of Defending Public Spaces WA has criticised the City of Stirling and the Department of Education for deciding to go ahead with the construction once again, which she believes is unnecessary.
“It’s just shocking … why are they picking on one of the most densely populated areas where we’ve got no green space?” she said.
Leisha also believes that nearby Kapinara Primary and Balcatta High Schools are more ideal for re-development as they are currently under-utilised, and offer better public transport opportunities.
“There’s got to be a whole pile of private schools who are screaming out for students from affluent families … so why do [taxpayers] have to build them an international school anyway?”
Dominic Lowe, a Doubleview resident, is one of two men who started a petition earlier in the year to protest the changes.
“All these people are going to have kids in the next five to six years, where are all these kids going to go?” he said.
“Doubleview School isn’t going to have enough room to expand now.”
An e-mail sent to Mr. Lowe by a City of Stirling spokesperson, which can be accessed here, claims that the City of Stirling is only a referral agency with no control over applications, whose ultimate authorisation lies with the Metro North-West Joint Development Assessment Panel.
The Department of Education was not able to provide a comment before deadline.
Mr. Lowe has also raised concerns about asbestos on the site.