Councillors propose new school at Legana

A new primary school has been proposed for Legana to cater for the population explosion projected in the next decade.
Nanjing Night Net

West Tamar councillors Tim Woinarski and Peter Kearney will officially announce the plans at Legana today.

The councillors are calling on the state government and Education Department to meet them about planning for the school to meet the future needs of the wider Legana area.

They said the council had planning projections that showed the area was expected to double in size in the next 10 years.

Talk of building a new school comes as Port Sorell Primary School opened its doors to pupils for the first time yesterday and five other schools have taken advantage of the government’s $3.5 million school closure fund and amalgamated over the summer break.

Cr Woinarski said Legana would be the next Kingston or Sorell, and was the fastest growing area in the greater Launceston area and state.

“The government has to sit down with the West Tamar Council and ask, what do you need, what do you want,” Cr Woinarski said.

“A school is the No. 1 priority to start with. You only have to look at the increasing traffic on the [West Tamar] highway to see the amount of families that live in the area.

“You put a school in the area, it’s only going to get bigger and it will decrease the traffic on the highway.”

According to the councillor there are four housing subdivisions in the vicinity, including development of a former orchard site in the pipeline and other developments.

The former orchard site could be where the proposed school could be built.

Cr Kearney, a former Hagley Farm Primary School principal, said Legana children travelled to either Riverside or Exeter schools.

He said the Riverside schools were at capacity and Exeter would get to that point if people looked at future population projections.

“If you’re doing plans for Legana as part of the greater Launceston area, it’s pretty obvious where you should be planning right now – for a school at Legana,” Cr Kearney said.

Opposition education spokesman Michael Ferguson said on the basis of population projections it was a proposal that deserved further investigation.

However, department deputy secretary Andrew Finch is still to be convinced. He said the department would not consider a school for the area at the moment but it did monitor demographic changes.

Mr Finch said according to 2010 enrolment trends, student numbers had fallen at both Riverside and Exeter primary schools and “it is considered that the West Tamar area has sufficient primary school provision”.

West Tamar councillors Tim Woinarski and Peter Kearney are calling for a new school to be built at Legana. Picture: PAUL SCAMBLER

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