New home for the Islamic school of Canberra – Media Release

An Islamic School of Canberra will be built on the former CIT School of Horticulture in Weston after the sale of Government land, ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said today.

“The engagement process with the Weston Creek community and key stakeholders identified broad support for the relocation of the Islamic School of Canberra to the former CIT site. As a result the ACT Government has agreed to the direct sale of the site to the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils,” Mr Stanhope said.

“Many people considered the use of the former CIT site as the new home for the Islamic School of Canberra was appropriate. There was general agreement the site be retained for community use, and a strong preference from the community that it be used as a school, rather than redeveloped for medium density housing.

“The Islamic School of Canberra has made a positive contribution to the diversity and quality of education in the ACT. The Government is committed to supporting the establishment of an expanded Kindergarten to Year 12 Islamic School in Weston that will cater for future needs of the ACT and regional Muslim community.”

Approximately 6ha of the site, including all the buildings will be sold to the school. The balance of the site was identified as high value landscape area that will be consolidated with the CIT Arboretum on the adjoining block.

Mr Stanhope said the school aims to operate from the site as soon as possible and preferably in the first term of 2010 after meeting the requirements of the ACT Department of Education and Training.

“The Arboretum, approximately 3ha in area, is to be converted to a public park and managed as part of the open space network and when it is safe and suitable it will be opened to the public,” Mr Stanhope said.

A joint steering committee has been established to progress and oversee the transfer of the Arboretum from the CIT to the custodianship of Parks Conservation and Land (PCL) and the development of the site as a publicly accessible parks and gardens. PCL will prepare a master plan for the Arboretum and develop facilities prior to the area being opened to the public, within 12 months.

Mr Stanhope said the consultation process leading up to the sale had been comprehensive.

“Residents and stakeholders were advised through the Canberra Times community notice board, the Government web page, the Weston Creek Community Council newsletter, radio and a mail out.”

He said the online consultation at bangthetable.com.au had 683 unique visitors who viewed 4947 pages.

“Twenty-three visitors left 84 comments about the four topics. Three spontaneous online discussions were hosted on the-riotact.com with a total of 46 comments.”

One community information session was held and a total of 61 feedback sheets were received.

Mr Stanhope said overall the community was largely supportive of the use by the ISC. The consultation report will be posted up on the community engagement website shortly.

He said the school will receive the same 100% concessionon the site valuation as all private schools; however the site improvements will need to be paid for at value.

The Islamic School of Canberra relocation community consultation report is available on www.communityengagement.act.gov.au
Released 08/12/2009

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