PARENTS have successfully fought plans to move kindergarten students from Bletchley Park Primary School to demountables offsite next to a Canning Vale petrol station.
A 7-Eleven convenience store with four fuel bowsers – approved by the City of Gosnells in April last year – recently opened on Ranford Road. The application was not required to be advertised publicly.
The Department of Education has leased adjacent land on Liffey Street from the Uniting Church for several years to accommodate kindergarten students from several overflowing public schools.
Last week, parents told Comment News they were worried the health of their children could be at risk from fumes or possible fire, citing a petrol tanker that burst into flames at a Maddington petrol station in 2009.
P&C member Serena Williams said she felt parent concerns had been dismissed by the school and Southern River MLA Peter Abetz, who is a school board member, since September when parents were first notified of the move to the Liffey Street facility.
Last Thursday morning, the Department of Education’s infrastructure executive director John Fisher told Comment News a “final decision” would be made after independent advice on possible health risks was been received.
“There has been significant enrolment growth in this area in recent years and relocating the kindergarten is the best option to help ease pressure on the school’s facility,” Mr Fisher said on Thursday.
But the next day, the school told parents in a letter that the Department of Health did not recommend relocating the kindergarten. Instead, two extra demountables would be put south of Bletchley Park Primary School’s oval for the 2017 school year.
This outcome was also the plea of a petition organised by Opposition education spokeswoman Sue Ellery, which she intended to table in Parliament.
A Department of Health spokeswoman told Comment News yesterday that the advice it gave last week was general in nature and “related to the consideration of a separation buffer and protecting children from unnecessary exposure to environmental hazardous chemicals”.
Parents met the school last week and the Department appointed a representative to field their concerns.
On Thursday, Mr Fischer told Comment News that relocating the kindergarten was the best option to ease pressure on the school’s facilities.
“However, due to concerns that have been raised about the development of the adjacent area as a petrol station, the Department of Education is seeking independent advice about any possible health risks,” he said.
“A final decision will be made on the location of the kindergarten once the Department of Education has received this advice.”
Minutes available on the school’s website showed the school’s board considered the possibility of accessing the overflow site at its meeting in June meeting and the board was asked to keep the discussion confidential at the time.
Southern River MLA Peter Abetz is a member of the school board.
He recently asked the department to organise independent air testing.