Chermside Kindy Fights for Play Area Amidst Controversy Over $18-M Expansion of Nearby School

In a classic David v. Goliath scenario, a small Chermside kindy finds itself embroiled in a battle to protect its play area against the $18-million expansion project of a local high school.

C&K West Chermside Pre Prep, the community kindergarten at the centre of the dispute, boasts a natural play area complete with chickens, beehives, and compost bins. However, the proposed three-story building, part of the high school’s expansion, is set to be erected just meters away from the kindergarten’s fence. 

This has ignited a back-and-forth dispute between the kindergarten, various government departments, and the construction arm of the government, QBuild.

The director of C&K West Chermside Pre Prep, Robyn Whittaker, has been leading the charge in advocating for design changes that would mitigate the impact of the planned expansion. She is concerned about the noise, dust, and overall disruption that the year-long construction could bring to the kindergarten’s peaceful environment.

Ms Whittaker emphasized the kindergarten’s focus on natural play and sustainability, expressing concern that the expansion would replace trees and grass with buildings, disrupting the children’s outlook and experiences.

One of the key points of contention revolves around the buffer zone between the new building and the kindergarten. While residents on the opposite side of the building are set to have a 9-meter buffer, the kindergarten would only have a 3-meter buffer. Ms Whittaker has questioned why both sides can’t have a 6-meter buffer, highlighting the inconsistency and raising concerns about the impact of noise and disturbance on the children during school hours.

Craigslea SHS multipurpose sports hall
Photo Credit: QueenslandGovernment
Craigslea SHS multipurpose sports hall
Photo Credit: QueenslandGovernment

Additionally, the Chermside kindergarten has expressed concerns about the footpath’s location, which would lead high school students past the kindergarten. Worries about inappropriate behavior like swearing or vaping have prompted the request for the footpath to be moved to the other side of the building.

While Ms Whittaker clarified that the kindergarten is not opposed to the high school’s development, she stressed the need for consideration of their unique needs. She highlighted that the families of the 44 children attending the kindergarten should also be given due consideration, especially in comparison to the three households on the opposite side of the building.

The dispute has led to communication with QBuild, with an email from a QBuild manager suggesting potential alternatives to address some of the kindergarten’s concerns.

The email indicated that the current location of the building cannot be changed but expressed a willingness to explore options for alternative access to minimize interactions between high school students and kindergarten children. The email also mentioned a review of landscaping opportunities to enhance privacy and screening between the two facilities.

The new building project is a collaborative effort between the Department of Education and the Department of Tourism, Innovation, and Sport. 

The proposal for the multipurpose sports hall at Craigslea State High School originates from a commitment made by Bart Mellish MP during an election campaign. 

“This upcoming facility is set to firmly establish Craigslea as a premier institution for volleyball in Queensland, thereby transforming the northern region into a pivotal hub for the advancement of volleyball,” Mr Mellish said. “I am eagerly anticipating witnessing some of the current students from Craigslea making their mark in the 2032 Olympic teams.”

Published 29-Aug-2023