- THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
- NOVEMBER 14, 2014
- St Catherine’s wants to build $63m theatre and aquatic centre
- The plans call for just 19 extra parking spaces
- Residents already parking 10 minutes away from their homes
THERE are Mercs parking on footpaths, BMWs stopped in no parking zones and parents pulling into neighbours’ driveways to drop off their kids during a school run described as chaotic – but an Eastern suburbs private school wants to get bigger.
And nearby residents are up in arms about it.
St Catherine’s School in Waverley is planning to build a $63 million theatre and aquatic centre but is only creating 19 new parking spaces for people coming to use them.
Residents living nearby say the local streets already cannot cope with the school traffic and see parents parking on pavements and in disabled zones every day.BLOCKER ROACH IS BACK ON THE AIRWAVES
“The school is planning to increase the number of pupils by 20 per cent but already the streets surrounding the school are packed with illegally parked cars,” said MacPherson Street resident and school neighbour Cathy Davitt.
“Parking is clearly a problem and it is only going to get worse when the school starts renting out its new theatre and aquatic centre to other schools.
“I already have to park up to 10 minutes away from my house and have started to get my groceries delivered because I can never park near my front door.”
St Catherine’s Anglican boarding school is proposing to spend almost $63 million on the new two-pool aquatic centre and 500-seat theatre that will be double the height of any existing buildings.
The master plan on exhibition proposes just 19 new car parking spaces.
Principal Dr Julie Townsend said: “Like all schools we have problems with parking … but putting in underground parking is really prohibitively expensive.”
She said the school was developing to meet the needs of the local area, which was expected to see a 50 per cent increase in the number of school-age children over the next 20 years.
“That goes to the heart of the discussion. It’s about re-educating the community about using public transport. That’s a community problem not a school problem,” she said.
Dr Townsend added the school was considering putting in bike racks, extra lockers for musical instruments and had introduced tablet computers to make school bags lighter to encourage girls to walk to school.
But Danny Caretti, secretary of the local Charing Cross Village Precinct residents group, said: “It is bad now and it is only going to get worse.
“We want the school to stop relying on the community to provide the infrastructure and instead build a proper car park and have a dedicated drop-off zone inside the school grounds.”
Mr Caretti, who lives on Bronte Road next to the school, said the streets were gridlocked from eight in the morning with parents resorting to dropping off their daughters in the driveways of local residents.
“According to the school’s own figures we are seeing 600 kids dropped off by car here every morning. It is chaos and that’s before we have a 500-seat theatre with no parking operating at night,” he said.