EAST PERTH’s old Girls School should have been renovated and used as the new inner-city school, saving millions and serving city areas excluded by the proposed plan, Perth councillor Reece Harley says.
Cr Harley said the State Government is planning to spend $70 million on a new school at Kitchener Park, which has a catchment zone that does not include Perth, East Perth or Highgate.
“The old Girls School is still a structurally sound and functional building, WA Police were still using it 18 months ago, why didn’t they renovate that school?” he said.
The proposed boundaries for the new high school were released today.
Deb Karajas, who lives in Perth, not far from East Perth train station, said the catchment zone does not make sense.
Her two daughters aged 5 and 7 attend Highgate Primary School.
“Were we included in the new school’s catchment area, (when the girls are old enough) they could jump on the train at either East Perth or Claisebrook and go straight through to West Leederville station, or they could ride along the bike path,” she said.
“To get to Mt Lawley, I would not feel comfortable with them riding their bikes that way, and there is no bus that goes up Lord Street and to the school.
“It’s a 10 minute drive but there is no direct public transport route; they would have to walk to William Street near Hyde Park for a bus or take the train into the city and then ride a bus.
“Highgate Primary is the public school for the CBD, East Perth, Northbridge and of course Highgate; it would make sense if it feeds into the new high school, rather than split it between high schools. It makes sense to keep it coherent.
“I don’t understand why they would split the suburb of Perth, they seem to have gone with the local government boundary rather than the suburb boundary; Vincent Street is the more logical boundary.”
Councillor Harley said the proposed zone would produce “a Subiaco school servicing the inner-west” rather than a school serving the entire inner-city.
“The boundary goes all the way up to Glendalough… but it doesn’t include the 6000 postcode, where kids could almost take the Cat bus to the school,” he said.
“I would have thought East Perth, Perth and Highgate would have been in the intake area of an inner-city school… it is a lost opportunity to bring together this community with a central high school.”
A Department of Education spokeswoman said the “new local intake areas for Churchlands, Shenton and Mt Lawley have been established to enable us to create a local intake area for the new Inner City College”.
She said the factors taken into account in determining the boundaries were reducing the local intake area for Churchlands, ensuring a viable long-term student population for Inner City College, taking account of natural and manmade landmarks, public transport and ensuring where possible the local intake area of each primary school was within the local intake area of one secondary school.
The Department spokeswoman said the old Girls School was considered but was ruled out when the Department determined the building was heritage listed and “a small site on two lots”.
Earlier today it was announced that the syndicate that bought the site this month will develop it into a retail, food, commercial and creative hub.