Demolition work on the three former school sites has started, with work expected to be finished at the former Haig Street Primary School and Bellfield Primary School next month, and at the former Banksia Secondary College in mid-March next year.
Cr. Jenny Mulholland said it was exciting to finally see work start on this long awaited project.
“Since their closure in 2011, these schools have lain neglected and vandalised. I am looking forward to seeing life once again returning to these sites in the form of refurbished community facilities and housing that meets the needs of our community.”
The demolition work, which will occur between 7.30am and 6pm on weekdays only, will not include the basketball gymnasium on the Banksia Secondary College site or the small hall on the Bellfield Primary School site and approximately 800 residents around the three school sites are being kept up to date on the demolition.
“When they were closed we, like our community, were concerned about the loss of the community facilities, particularly the basketball/netball stadium at the former Banksia Secondary College. Over the intervening years we have worked hard to ensure we were in a position to buy the sites and return and improve important community facilities,”
“Although we only took possession of the sites on 11 November 2013, much work was done prior to settlement to make sure demolition could begin as soon as possible to make the sites safe, particularly given the amount of vandalism that was still occurring.
“As is typical for buildings of this era, some buildings contain asbestos, mainly in the form of asbestos sheeting. All asbestos is being removed by a licensed asbestos removalist before buildings are demolished.”
Trees on each site have also been assessed by an arborist and only those that are environmental weeds or in poor health will be removed.
Cr Mulholland said that selling the remaining land for development will offset the cost to Council and rate payers of buying the sites and renovating and expanding the community facilities.
An Expression of Interest process for the 3.2 hectare Haig Street development site is currently being advertised. A request to rezone the former school sites land to Residential Growth Zone has been submitted to the Minister of Planning and it is envisaged the land rezoning will be completed by the end of the year.
Cr Mulholland said housing development would be high quality and would respect existing neighbourhood character.
“Importantly, these housing developments will provide greater housing choice for our diverse population as well as houses that perform better environmentally through energy and water conservation, and waste minimisation,”