Docklands needs a high school

Docklands needs a high school
Ellen Sandell

When it comes to school planning in our inner city, we need bold, creative ideas.

With the recent news that Costco is leaving Docklands, locals are hopeful that this could provide an opportunity for a high school to be built in Docklands, or a permanent second campus for Docklands Primary School.

Alongside local parents, I started campaigning for a local primary school for Docklands back in 2014. Following a strong community campaign, I was thrilled when the new Docklands Primary School opened in 2020.

But, like many others, I was really disappointed to see that poor planning quickly led to overcrowding, with enrolments exceeding capacity only two years after the school opened and students being forced into a temporary campus at the nearby shopping centre.

Unfortunately, the Labor Victorian Government has a history of short sightedness and poor planning when it comes to our local inner-city schools.

Many were baffled by the decision to place Docklands Primary School right on busy Foostscray Rd, for example, which has led to a number of near misses and other serious safety concerns.

This is partly due to poor planning of Docklands overall, with governments leaving property developers to do what they like without proper government planning, but it’s also due to state government short-sightedness about where schools will be needed in future, and governments refusing to buy land early to ensure suburbs are future-proof.

We have seen countless examples over the past few years of state governments trying to play catch up rather than investing in long-term planning, but with a bit of thought and proactive investment there is a great opportunity to get things right.

There are two empty blocks of land right next to Docklands Primary School and now Costco leaving the suburb will free up even more space. Rather than building more unaffordable apartments, the government should invest in the community infrastructure that Docklands families actually need, even if it means creative thinking or having to renegotiate deals with developers.

Not every site will be suitable for a high school, but the state government must look at all options, and do it now before it’s too late. Kids in Docklands deserve quality local schools and proper spaces to learn and play.

If you’re interested in getting involved with a community campaign for a high school, please touch get in touch. •

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