Petition progress won’t stop the bulldozers

HOPEFUL: Chris Doudney says he's still hopeful that "reason will prevail" and Redcliffs School will be reinstated on its former site.

A petition to try and reinstate Redcliffs School on its former site has cleared its first hurdle.

A Government workforce and education select committee has allowed The Friends of Redcliffs Park to give evidence before it in Christchurch next week.

It comes after the group’s spokesman Chris Doudney told the Bay Harbour News last week he didn’t think this would happen.

“I’m very glad they’re asking us to answer questions,” he said.

While he had provided reports on the validity of the former site and ideas to improve the old buildings with the petition, Mr Doudney said he believed he would cover the same information at the September 19 meeting.

Mr Doudney said the select committee would then likely decide whether to continue taking the matter forward.

If it did, it would eventually present a report to Parliament, giving the Government 60 days to respond as to whether it would take any action. The time frame for compiling reports could vary greatly.

“We’ve emailed the Minister of Education and the director of education in Christchurch to ask to hold off demolishing the existing school until after the committee has had its hearings,” Mr Doudney said.

“We haven’t heard back from them, I just hope the bulldozers don’t move in.”

However, the select committee process won’t slow down the demolition or work on the new buildings in Redcliffs Park.

Ministry of Education head of education infrastructure service Kim Shannon said the demolition of the old buildings would not be held off and would continue next month as planned.

The ministry did not believe the petition would affect work on the new build either, she

“It is worth noting that even if, hypothetically, a decision was made to keep the school at its original site, the buildings would require demolition to ensure they were an appropriate distance from the cliff faces, and were rebuilt to modern standards.”

She said the sooner the demolition began, the sooner
the city council could proceed with building sporting facilities on site for the 2019 winter season.

Mr Doudney said he believed the demolition must be halted as the petition was calling for the buildings to be kept.

“If they take no notice of that until a decision is made, where are they legally?”

CONDEMNED: The Ministry of Education says regardless of the outcome of the Friends of Redcliffs Park’s petition, the old Redcliffs School buildings will be demolished.