A new Bishop Druitt 'feeder school' is proposed at Woolgoolga across from Woolworths.
A new Bishop Druitt 'feeder school' is proposed at Woolgoolga across from Woolworths.

Bishop Druitt campus ‘far from ideal’ at busy roundabout

THE busy location, across from Woolgoolga Woolworths, is far from ideal for a junior college according to the Northern Beaches Residents Association.

A change of use development application from Bishop Druitt College is currently with Coffs Harbour City Council.

Council has already approved a mixed use commercial and townhouse development, including a 60-place child care centre at the 1852 to 1858 Solitary Islands Way site.

The Bishop Druitt DA seeks to convert the commercial and townhouse component into a kindergarten to year two junior school, catering for up to 120 students.

The vacant lot between the new building and the motel has been earmarked for more classrooms taking students through to year 4. This will be the subject of a future development application.

But Ray Willing from the Northern Beaches Residents Association (NBRA) says the site is far from ideal.

"The proposed location raises the possibility of significant safety issues with traffic and children in proximity," Mr Willing outlines in a submission to Council.

"There is also the prospect of traffic congestion being exacerbated especially at school drop off and pick up times. There are already well known significant congestion issues recognised by most motorists, parents and bus drivers at these peak school times in the area around the site."

Bishop Druitt College principal Nick Johnstone.
Bishop Druitt College principal Nick Johnstone.

When Bishop Druitt College principal Nick Johnstone spoke with the Advocate last week he indicated buses would be used to minimise congestion.

FULL STORY: Plans underway to establish a Bishop Druitt College 'feeder school' for kindergarten through to year four

The location of the pedestrian crossing near the Solitary Islands Way - Clarence Street roundabout is of particular concern.

One option put forward by the NBRA is to move it further north by around 100 metres or more, which could reduce the bank up of pedestrians at the roundabout and give drivers more distance and a better view of those using the crossing.

A new Bishop Druitt 'feeder school' will be established at Woolgoolga across from Woolworths. The pedestrian crossing is currently located across from Woolworths close to the roundabout.
A new Bishop Druitt 'feeder school' will be established at Woolgoolga across from Woolworths. The pedestrian crossing is currently located across from Woolworths close to the roundabout.

Mr Willing said the association may support the site as one suitable for a school if the pedestrian crossing was moved as suggested.

"Absent a change along these lines, Council is at risk of introducing major safety issues where children are involved."

The NBRA is also concerned about a lack of grassed play area, and although principal Nick Johnstone spoke of using Woolgoolga's 'natural assets' for outside play, Mr Willing questions the concept of a private school using public facilities as part of its range of services.

Mr Willing says he welcomes Bishop Druitt College to Woolgoolga as it reflects the growth of the northern beaches in recent times and flags the growth potential for the future.

"Schools such as BDC will assist in meeting the community demands resulting from the exciting growth of the area."

Submissions on the change of use development application close today. For more information on the proposal go to Coffs Harbour City Council DA tracker and search for DA number 0073/21DA or follow this link.



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