Student numbers at Manly Village School have more than doubled in recent years and space is urgently needed. So why are tracts of land owned by Dept Education being incorporated into the new Far West development rather than being reclaimed for the school next door?
It was disappointing that at its December meeting Manly Council rejected outright the idea of perusing a feasibility plan to have a Harbour Pool re-created in Manly Cove West.
However the argument that "Maritime, who are the landowner, have totally rejected the plan" is completely inaccurate (See attached letter below)
On May 3, Council received a letter from Roads & Maritime Services that not only set out what would need to be done as part of a feasibility plan for the idea but also stated "Roads and Maritime .... will consider any formal proposal from Manly Council to re-establish a boardwalk and pool".
The new-look pool and boardwalk concept plan is an idea that has been well-researched by Good For Manly with a professionally designed eco-friendly pool, rather than the massive structures of the 'Wonder Pool' of days gone-by. We believe it is an idea that is worthy of proper investigation and consideration rather than a knee-jerk refusal.
What do you think?
Growing pains being experienced by Manly Village School has put pressure on the Department of Education with the school exploding from an initial 200 pupils to more than 600 students enrolled in the school - and growing.
It is understood that the Department of Education & Communities is undertaking 'a broad scoping exercise' (not my words!) to find ways to best accommodate future students at Manly Village School.
At one stage it was feared that the Manly Community Centre in Wentworth Street would be given notice to make way for more classrooms. However, their lease has now been extended until December 2015 which offers a reprieve, for now.
The Centre provides valuable services including information, counselling, financial and legal advice, housing assistance as well as bilingual migrant specialists, domestic violence caseworkers, and a Justice of the Peace - the name just some of the services. The current location and facilities offered by the Community Centre are considered an important part of the Manly Village. It was community-funding that contributed around $1/2million to 'save' the building which was previously in a derelict state. Numerous repairs and restorations of the MCC building have taken place over the years. This includes the restoration of the heritage hall in 1999 and the restoration of the building to its original heritage condition.
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The controversial redevelopment plan for the Royal Far West site is still on the agenda with a decision from the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) now delayed until February 2013 due to concerns that a late December public meeting (which is part of the process) would not enable all concerned parties to be present.
In the meantime concerns are still being raised by locals including the P & C of the Village School and members of the Manly Community Centre, due to the lack of information which is publicly available on the proposal. For example, what impact, if any, will the high-rise components of the development have on the shadowing of the children's playground in the Village School? What arrangements have been made regarding the parcel of land within the redevelpment site which is owned by the Department of Education? Who is behind the redevelopment proposal as, as a charity, the Royal Far West would be unable to mount such a proposal on their own? And why wasn't there any community consultation on the proposal before it was lodged?
Manly Council has submitted a draft concept plan for the site which calls for a more modest approach to the redevelpment with terraced levels fronting the beach rather than the proposal high rise block.
As a $220m redevelopment on an important, major site in Manly (bounded by Wentworth Avenue, South Steyne & Victoria Avenue) the community has a right to be kept informed. So why so much secrecy?
Manly is expected to get leading edge community wi-fi following the successful promotion by Good for Manly for free wi fi to be provided in the CBD. The project, currently being explored by Manly Council in association with the Chamber of Commerce, proposes to use of 'mesh' networking, a new technology that links existing unlimited broadband networks currently used by Manly's shops, pubs, public buildings and eating places to create an overriding community network which would be accessible by anyone with a mobile device - without the need for user names or passwords.
The mesh system is a low-cost option for the provision of community wi-fi which relies on the existing community to link their wi fi using a router (which costs around $100) which is simply plugged into their modem. All networks in the area are then wirelessly connected to each other. Once set-up, there are no ongoing costs.
A full report will be presented to Council in February 2013 on how the network could be implemented and supported.
Candy Bingham, Deputy Mayor, Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations & community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.