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Council purchases the three West Heidelberg school sites

I am pleased to advise that Banyule Council has successfully negotiated with the State Government to buy three former school sites in the Heidelberg/Ivanhoe area, with plans for housing and increased community facilities.

The three disused school sites are:
1. Banksia La Trobe Secondary College – Banksia Street, Bellfield
2. Bellfield Primary School – Banksia Street, Ivanhoe
3. Haig Street Primary School – Haig Street, Heidelberg Heights

Banksia SC

The schools have since suffered significant vandalism since closed as well as an arson attack on Banksia La Trobe Secondary College. Community groups, such as the Ivanhoe East Basketball Club, Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre and the Waterdale Players, who once used the school facilities, also had to find other places to meet and play.

“Despite having fought for the retention of these schools since 2006 I am very pleased with the outcome of the negotiations and the price that Council will pay for the sites. This is a once in a generation opportunity and we couldn’t let the chance to secure the land and community facilities slip.”

“We have, for example, earmarked the basketball stadium on the former Banksia La Trobe Secondary College site for a potential upgrade and expansion, while residential and ancillary community development will be considered on the sites to help offset the cost of the land and the cost of providing more community facilities.”

“The closure of the schools, particularly Bellfield Primary, is however a black mark on the previous Labor State Government, which oversaw this closure process from 2005 to 2010.  Both the former State Member for Ivanhoe and the current State Member (who was previously the ward Councillor for this area and chief advisor for the then Minister for Education) oversaw the closure process and refused to listen to the community as represented by my 10% personal vote in the 2006 State Election.”

Council would ensure the land is developed in an appropriate way, with any returns on the development re-invested in community facilities.

“We will also be seeking State and Federal Government support for this exciting project to ensure that the provision of new community facilities can be maximised,” he said.

Once contracts are finalised with the State Government later this year, details about the purchase price and timelines for the development of the sites will be available.