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Shock announcement undermines Flynn community and threatens heritage

The ACT Government’s announcement to relocate two existing childcare centres to the Flynn Primary School undermines the viable solution proposed by the Flynn community; breaches promises made by government; and will not in itself create a significant number of new childcare places.

“It is clear now that the government has again undermined the Flynn community and ignored the proposal for a viable community centre,” said the John Flynn Community Group president, Eric Hines. “We are also concerned that the extent of structural changes need for such a large centre of 110 places in total will damage the heritage value of the building.”

The ACT Government’s announcement to includes no safeguards for protecting the integrity of Flynn’s heritage buildings”, according to the John Flynn Community Group president, Eric Hines.

Chief Minster Jon Stanhope committed in 2009 to protecting the heritage value of the site, regardless of the outcome of a heritage nomination submitted several years ago. However, the government is yet to prepare conservation management plan and has not spoken with architect Enrico Taglietti about its plans for the site.

The government’s proposal will create only 13 new childcare places in the region at a cost of $4 million.

“The proposal put by the John Flynn Community Group adds an extra 60 to 80 new childcare places to the region as well as an integrated community centre, which is a much better use of $4 million. The Flynn proposal would also help rebuild the local community following the devastating effects of the 2006 closure of the only school and community centre in the suburb,” said Mr Hines.

“It is hard to comprehend that the ACT Government would ignore a viable community proposal in preference for a solution that delivers less and costs more per child,” he said.

The Flynn community is bewildered by the government’s announcement. Only recently, Joy Burch, Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, committed in meetings to working with the John Flynn Community Group on planning for the site, following earlier concerns about the announcement of a large childcare centre at the site.

“We are also concerned that we were told in discussions with departmental staff that a tenant for the site would be determined through a full and proper process that the Flynn community would be involved in. Clearly, process has not been followed in this case,” he said.

“The John Flynn Community Group and Flynn Primary School Parents and Citizens Association have gone to extraordinary lengths to find a workable and amicable solution based on a multi-use hub with a wide range of services managed through a community consortium that considers not only childcare but also values heritage and meets local needs. We have assessed the community’s needs, found the partners who can best deliver the services, and have developed details of the business case.”

The community consortium includes the John Flynn Community Group, a community based childcare provider, renewable energy providers and social business innovators with confirmed interest from education and community arts providers.

“The good news is that we believe that the community consortium can deliver the sustainable community centre including an integrated community-based childcare, adult education, community and performing arts, resource, migrant and drop-in centres and education facilities within the $4 million budgeted, without compromising the heritage value of the site.”

UPDATE: The Chronicle facebook page includes an article about this. (Story by Meredith Clisby, Northside Chronicle)

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