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Chief Minister agrees to meet with the Flynn community

Chief Minister Jon Stanhope agreed at a recent community meeting to formally meet with Flynn community members to negotiate the community’s proposal for the future use and management of the school.

Flynn residents raised their concerns about the current process, saying that the department responsible had not genuinely attempted to implement the proposal despite that being the recommendation of the school closures inquiry.

A record of the meeting has been sent to Mr Stanhope’s office, as below.

Cabinet in Community 16 April 2011

  1. Meeting of Flynn community representatives with Jon Stanhope MLA, later joined by Martin Hehir, CEO the ACT Department of Disability Housing and Community Services.
  2. We began by thanking Mr Stanhope for his commitment to protecting the heritage value of Flynn. We confirmed that it was a significant commitment and means a lot to the entire Flynn community.
  3. We then outlined the way forwards for the future use of the school, saying that the Flynn community proposal offers a win-win solution that will bring kudos to the government and will also meet local community needs and protect the heritage value of the site. It is the proposal that the School Closures Inquiry recommended be negotiated. The government agreed with the recommendation, indicating that it would negotiate with the John Flynn Community Group.
  4. Mr Stanhope asked for a brief overview of the proposal. The key points mentioned were:
    • serves local (Flynn) needs
    • led and operated by the local Flynn community
    • governance would be along a cooperative arrangement
    • it encourages the local community to be involved in a participatory way, and so is a more sustainable approach than simply allowing people to rent a space from time-to-time.
    • One example of a local service that could be provided through this arrangement is the resource centre (currently closed with the school)—it was and could be again the computer facility for the suburb (not all Flynn residents have internet access/own a computer) and the local library for younger children (regardless of where they attend school).

  5. The Flynn community has nothing local as a result of the school’s closure, when it had formerly operated as both a school and a community facility for the local community. Some people are starting to see it as a slum because of the lack of facilities for the local community.
  6. In response to a question from Mr Stanhope, the community indicated that the problem in the current process has been that DHCS will not negotiate the Flynn community proposal, despite the Assembly recommendation, and that there are fears for the site’s heritage. In fact, DHCS will not even allow any discussion around the proposal.
  7. We said the whole situation now needs Mr Stanhope as Chief Minister to break through the impasse with DHCS to bring about a win-win solution for government and the community. We asked Mr Stanhope for a meeting to negotiate the Flynn community proposal, and he agreed to it.
  8. At this point, Mr Stanhope brought Mr Hehir into the discussion. Mr Hehir said that there had been some consultation with the Flynn community, and that Roger and Eric had been involved in all those meetings. Mr Stanhope said words to the effect that we are concerned about being part of the decision-making process and part of the ongoing management, rather than being ‘consulted’. However, Mr Stanhope said the current process isn’t working and that the government should start a new process that included him.
  9. Mr Hehir said that there seems to be a split within the Flynn community as another group has contacted him complaining about being left out. We asked who that other group is, and Mr Hehir then said they were some individuals rather than groups. We said that our executive can only do what the membership instructs them (even though this can be a slow process). Anyone who lives in Flynn can be part of the John Flynn Community Group, and Mr Hehir can forward our details onto anyone who contacts him and wants to be more involved. The P&C and the John Flynn Community Group has doorknocked the suburb twice to be able to fully appreciate the views of the community.
  10. Mr Stanhope said again that when a process isn’t working it can be best to start again, and that is the case in this situation. He reiterated that he and Mr Hehir would be involved in this new process.

Images from Flynn

Angles on the textured concrete walls


Flynn grounds

Landscape setting & grounds

Enrico Taglietti visting the school he designed

History and design

Memorial to John Flynn

Memorial to John Flynn