Dunedin diocese changes its mind about school in Arrowtown

Plans for a controversial new $5 million Catholic school at Speargrass Flat near Arrowtown have been dropped in favour of a more central location.

Speargrass Flat residents went to the High Court in a bid to stop the school, appealing an Environment Court ruling which upheld Queenstown council’s granting of resource consent.

They lost an appeal and then in June 2012 withdrew their appeal against that decision.

Now, the residents have got their wish.

The 2.6-hectare Speargrass Flat site will go back on the open market.

In June Bishop Campbell said the campus was “ideally located” to serve the Arrowtown end of the parish and it would ease pressure on St Joseph’s School in Queenstown.

St Joseph’s primary school and heritage parish church are on a constrained site near Queenstown CBD, with a maximum roll of 175 pupils.

But last week diocesan general manager Gerald Scanlan said they were going back to the drawing board because of huge growth in homes and shopping areas at Frankton and Lake Hayes.

The majority of families with school-age children are moving to live in new residential developments near Frankton.

One option under consideration is a 300-pupil school at Remarkables Park, along with a new church and presbytery.

“The Wakatipu basin is a high-growth part of the country but we’ve got a school on a constrained site and quite an old heritage church,” Scanlan said.

“We want to ensure we have an attractive contemporary schooling option available for people who want to send their kids to a Catholic school.”


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