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PROTRACK » GENERAL » 2 private schools donate $2mil for synthetic athletics track

2 private schools donate $2mil for synthetic athletics track

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http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/private-school-money-talks-in-council-decision-20110530-1fczs.html#ixzz1NtR9YjLh



Generous proposal ... Knox has offered $1million to lay a running
track in The Glade park.


Private school money talks in council decision
By Matthew Moore
Sydney Morning Herald
May 31, 2011


A SYDNEY council has given in-principle support to a plan by two wealthy private schools to pay $2 million for a synthetic running track in a public park near their schools in Wahroonga.

After the offer of $1 million each from Abbotsleigh and Knox to lay a track in a nearby park called The Glade, Ku-ring-gai Council last week abandoned its support for an upgrade of an established grass athletics track at Bannockburn Oval, two suburbs away in Pymble.

Although the council will undertake further assessments before a final decision, the headmistress of Abbotsleigh, Judith Poole, said she was ''rapt'' with the council's support for her plan, which would mean students would no longer take buses to Narrabeen or Olympic Park, where the nearest tracks are.

With councils increasingly short of funds, Ku-ring-gai has called for partners to help fund community infrastructure, and Ms Poole said the schools thought this was a great chance to provide facilities for their students and the community.

Under their proposal, the schools will lease the track for three hours a day during term and hold a total of four carnivals each year, and other schools or sporting groups will be able to rent the track at other times.

The president of Ku-ring-gai Little Athletics, John McFadden, opposed the plan and said the council should have stuck with its original support for upgrading the existing 300 metre track at Bannockburn Oval, where his group has run events for more than 30 years.

''We feel disappointment council has dropped the idea … the two ovals have not changed, so money must be the thing that's pushed them to that decision.''

Mr McFadden said the council had also seriously underestimated the cost of installing and maintaining a synthetic track that would be vulnerable to attacks by vandals.

''If you build a track it needs to be fenced and locked because unfortunately people like to damage them, set fire to bins on them or ride bikes on them … and they are very expensive to repair.''

Ms Poole said Little Athletics had not even agreed to discuss the schools' plan with the council and she had no interest in funding a track at Bannockburn Oval because her students would be unable to walk to it.

''Once I got them into a bus, why would I pay a million dollars?'' she said.

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http://north-shore-times.whereilive.com.au/news/story/upgrade-for-oval-stirs-anger/

Upgrade for Glade Oval in Wahroonga stirs anger
by FIONA BRADY
North Shore Times
26 May 11


TWO private schools are offering to donate $2 million to help build a synthetic athletics track at The Glade Oval in Wahroonga - but not everyone appreciates the offer.

At this week’s Ku-ring-gai Council meeting, councillors voted to proceed with a master-plan for the athletics track after the cash offer from Abbotsleigh and Knox Grammar schools.

But the plan has infuriated some Wahroonga residents who live nearby and use the oval - particularly the schools’ request for exclusive use of the facility on weekday afternoons for up to three hours.

Mark Hancock was one of several Wahroonga residents who spoke at Tuesday’s meeting despite being an Abbotsleigh parent himself.

He described The Glade as “one of the very few remaining natural parklands in Wahroonga”.

He said: “This concerning proposal represents a form of privatisation of the community parkland for a price of $2 million”.

Elaine Malicki, one of three councillors who voted against the proposal, said the council would have to fork out for toilets and other facilities - as well as on-going maintenance costs.

She said local residents had been ignored and alienated: “If this is the way they are going to deal with publicly-owned land, there should be an inquiry,” she said after the meeting.

Mayor Ian Cross said the schools’ offer was “simply a broad concept rather than a firm proposal” and the council had not committed to anything.

“There’s no point consulting the community without having specific details,” he said.

“As a result of council’s resolution, we’re at the very start of the process of exploring the offer and its opportunities.

“We will do detailed consultation as part of the master planning process with all stakeholders including residents and sporting groups getting a chance to comment.”

The headmistress of Abbotsleigh, Judith Poole, said the schools wanted to work with the local community. “There is no doubt in my mind that we came up with a positive outcome for the local community and the young people of Ku-ring-gai,” she said.

She said the oval would be a shared space and the school would still pay a fee to use the facilities.

THE KNOX AND ABBOTSLEIGH PROPOSAL.
- The schools would contribute $2 million towards construction of an all-weather synthetic athletics track at The Glade incorporating a turf-based soccer, hockey or junior cricket pitch.
-The council would remain the land owner but grant a conditional 21-year lease to the schools.
- The schools want to be allowed to use the oval for up to three hours after school hours on weekday afternoons during term time (up to 40 weeks a year) and for four school carnivals a year. The school would provide off-street parking during the school carnivals.
-The Glade would continue to serve as public open space outside these times.

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http://hornsby-advocate.whereilive.com.au/news/story/the-glade-backed-in/



Residents opposed to the latest proposal on
The Glade at Wahroonga.


The Glade backed in
by ELIAS JAHSHAN and FIONA BRADY
Hornsby Advocate
2 Jun 11


KU-RING-GAI Council has given in-principle support to a plan by Knox Grammar and Abbotsleigh schools to contribute $2 million to help build an all-weather synthetic athletics facility in a public park near their grounds at Wahroonga.

The decision last week was a backflip on an initial rejection of the same offer in November last year.

All but three councillors accepted the offer this time, and voted The Glade as the preferred location for an athletic facility on par with those at Olympic Park and Narrabeen, instead of upgrading the existing 300m grass track at Bannockburn Oval, Pymble.

The plan has angered some Wahroonga residents, particularly because of the schools’ request for exclusive use of it on weekday afternoons.

Mark Hancock, despite being an Abbotsleigh parent, was one of several residents who told council the proposal “represents a form of privatisation of the community parkland for a price of $2 million”.

Mayor Ian Cross said the schools’ offer was “simply a broad concept rather than a firm proposal” and council had not committed to anything.

Both the headmaster of Knox and headmistress of Abbotsleigh argued a nearby athletics oval was needed as there was no synthetic track in Ku-ring-gai.

***
THE PROPOSAL
* The schools would contribute $2 million towards construction of an all-weather synthetic athletics track at The Glade incorporating a turf-based soccer, hockey or junior cricket pitch.
* The council would remain the land owner but grant a conditional 21-year lease to the schools.
* The schools want to use the oval for up to three hours after school hours on weekday afternoons during term time (up to 40 weeks a year) and for four school carnivals a year. They would provide off-street parking.
* The Glade would continue to serve as public open space outside these times.

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