© iStockphoto.com/Barbara Henry

Sewerage school to remain open

AN IPSWICH school without mains water, power or a sewerage system will remain open with strict timelines to complete works.

Representatives from Staines Memorial College were criticised after opening their school to nearly 197 students without town planning approval and lacking basic utilities.

All but two of the seven buildings at the Redbank Plains college lack town planning approval and the nearest bitumen road is 1.5km away

Water is being trucked onto the site, and sewage removed by tanker twice a week outside school hours. Emergency generators are supplying power.

Ipswich City Councillor Paul Tully said after a meeting with school authorities on Wednesday, the college could remain open, subject to strict timelines to complete work on the provision of basic services.

"They've undertaken to have the sewer connected within two weeks," Mr Tully said.

"They've undertaken to comply with all other requirements such as the water and the road, within a strict timeframe, but approximately six months.

"They're going to get applications in place for the temporary water supply and the building approvals."

The school will also provide a drop-off area for parents at a churchyard on a nearby bitumen road, from where the students will be taken by bus to the college.

"It's not an entirely satisfactory solution, but the school will continue to operate subject to very strict timelines," Cr Tully said.

He said the council was reluctant to close the college.

"Legal action was a possibility, but now the school has shown its willingness to comply with all council conditions, we won't be going down that track," Cr Tully said.

Opposition education spokesman Bruce Flegg said the State Government had a responsibility to ensure basic services were in place before students attended the college.

He said the college applied for independent schools registration and was given approval for an intake of 180 students from February 1.

"This is, in fact, a state government-approved independent school," Dr Flegg said.

"You've got ask yourself what on earth they are thinking - approving a school to open without ensuring it has sewerage, water, electricity and council approval, and a suitable access road.

"What's the point of having an accreditation process if in fact there's no rigour at all in the application of criteria?"

Earlier this week, Cr Tully said the school had thumbed its nose at the council.

"Water tankers and sewerage tankers running up and down a dirt road outside the school are of great concern regarding the health and well-being of the 197 students at the school," he said.

The school, which offers Christian-based education, is named after missionary Grahame Staines who was burnt to death, with his young sons Philip and Timothy, by a mob in India in 1998.



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