Call to keep Wollombi Public School grounds in community’s hands

Posted December 20th, 2018 by admin and filed in 南京夜网
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Wollombi Public School grounds.The Wollombi Public School premises should remain in the community’s hands, but the question of upkeep needs to be sorted out before any decisions are made, a Cessnock councillor says.
Nanjing Night Net

It’s still not known whether the state government will sell the grounds of the school, which closed at the end of 2014, or allow it to remain available for community use.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Catherine Cusack will hear fromstakeholders and other interested people at a public meetingon March 14, to discuss what the future could look like for the former education facility.

Cr Paul Dunn said he wanted to see the old school remain in the community’s hands, but questions of who would own it and how it would be run needed answers.

“It is a beautiful facility, it deserves to be kept in Cessnock community hands,” he said.

“My concern is Cessnock Council already owns several assets in Wollombi. They are not necessarily in a position to be able to afford to own it themselves.

“An option may there may be out of the question. It’s not an easy one. It would totally come down to how the state government sees this as amoney making venture versuscommunity venture.”

Cr Dunn said a peppercorn lease, for example renting the facility to council or a community organisation for $1 for 100 years, or gifting the facility to the community were among other options that could be explored.

“My concern is if the state government gifted it to a trust, there’s no iron clad guarantee that the trust won’t fold after five or ten years so that’s a concern,” he said.

“In my opinion there are two options–either keep it in community hands or sell it. I would personally like to see the money stay back in Wollombi if it was to be sold.

“But there are lots of options on the table. It’s just a matter of who can afford what and who is prepared to do what.”

Wollombi School Community Education Trust president Frank Ganino said the trust had facilitated about 350 community events at the school grounds since April, 2015.Mr Ganino said the trust was trying to keep the school grounds in community hands.

“We feel that there is a need for it in the community, it’s highly valued in the community and we’ve been able to demonstrate with 300-plus events that it is being used by the community,” he said.

“As far as the[Department of Education]was concerned there were no more community events to be held at the school after January 31.But since then we’ve been able to secure an ongoing short-term lease with the department, which is allowing us to come back into the school.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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