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Christmas call-in trumps consultation

Flynn community groups are dismayed but not surprised by the ACT Government calling in another minor development at Flynn Primary School, just a few days before Christmas.

Community spokesman Roger Nicoll says the concerns included:

  •   protecting artworks created by the community rather than destroying them
  •   giving access to the only remaining accessible community courtyard by moving a parking lot
  •   allowing the community to use a building that it had raised funds to reconstruct rather than allocating them other uses.

‘At the very least, we’re asking for the children who created the artworks to be given one last chance to come and see them before the government destroys them,” he said.

“It would have been so easy to sit down and talk to us, especially since the Community Services Directorate (CSD), who is managing the development, has been in discussions with us this week,” he said.

‘We are surprised that CSD didn’t tell us what was happening, or even try to discuss our concerns before pushing this through,” he said.

“There really was no need to take the extreme step of a call-in – which is supposed to be for major developments – for something that could have been easily resolved,” said Mr Nicoll.

The community supports the protection and community use of its only facility, as shown by suburb-wide surveys attracting more than 80% support, a petition with more than 700 signatures, and an active community network. The government conceded it would retain the building and grounds and shelve its plans for demolition only in 2010 following a three-year, concerted community campaign.

It was CSD that has had findings of improper conduct against it, including treating the community with disrespect and providing ‘one-sided, inaccurate and unfavourable’ advice to ministers, the public and the Legislative Assembly.

“The development application and its call-in sends a disturbing signal about the government’s commitment to work with the community in negotiating a proposal for future community use,” said Mr Nicoll.

“We are currently in negotiations with CSD about a community proposal that has been on the table since early 2007, but announcements like this make it difficult to build an environment of trust,” he said.

The groups also welcome Marymead and Belconnen Community Services to Flynn.

“We have had along relationship with Belconnen Community Services and we look forward to reinvigorating that for the benefit of the Flynn community.”

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