Inquiry cop-out leaves cloud over Flynn

The Flynn community welcomed today’s Education Standing Committee recommendation to re-open Hall and Tharwa primary schools but said the recommendation in regard to Flynn has put a cloud over Flynn’s future.

“The John Flynn Community Group and the Flynn P&C separately and together presented a strong case for opening a primary school as part of a viable community centre at Flynn, so we feel badly let down that the Committee has not recommended re-opening Flynn as well,” according to Flynn Primary School P&C President, Roger Nicoll.

The John Flynn Community Group made clear its support for a primary school in its evidence to the Inquiry hearings, yet this seems to have been overlooked.

“The Flynn P&C presented a compelling case for wrongful closure on various legal and procedural grounds as well as a viable proposal for incorporating a school and childcare facility in a sustainable community centre at Flynn,” Mr Nicoll said.

The Standing Committee has recommended that the ACT Government urgently liaise with the representatives of the John Flynn Community Group, or other members of the Flynn community, to negotiate the viability of their, or alternative, proposals for the closed school site. [Recommendation 3]

“We cautiously welcome the Committee’s recommendation for government to negotiate with the Flynn community on its future because the P&C and the John Flynn Community Group have for the past three years both been requesting a genuine discussion about re-opening a school as part of a community centre.”

“We really hope that this process can help restore Flynn’s school and community hub as the social impacts have been very significant. We hope that the government process doesn’t fail us again and force us to again resort to other options.”

“We also hope this does not turn out to be another ‘consultation’—the thought of that leaves us stone cold, particularly when you think about what everyone has been through with the school closures and follow-up consultations about redevelopment of the sites.”

The Flynn P&C also welcomed the Committee recommendation to investigate and resolve the delays over Flynn’s heritage listing nomination, Mr Nicoll said.

“It is important to us that the heritage value is duly recognised and protected. In that regard, we are pleased to note that the Committee has confirmed that the heritage value of the buildings appeared to be undisputed.” [par. 2.64]

The John Flynn Community group submitted a nomination for heritage listing of the Flynn school, preschool, health centre and grounds in December 2007 and the nomination was accepted by the ACT Heritage Council in March 2008.

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