Parking concerns at Woolgoolga Public School raised in Council

A lack of available parking around Woolgoolga Public School has been raised as a safety concern by Coffs Harbour City councillor John Arkan.

 

SAFETY concerns surrounding Woolgoolga Public School at school pickup time have been raised by Coffs Harbour City councillor John Arkan at a recent Council meeting.

Cr Arkan expressed to Council at its Ordinary Meeting on Thursday 25 March his concerns around a lack of parking in Scarborough Street where the school is located.

“Woolgoolga is growing rapidly and we really need to have a look at the roads and the parking situation overall,” Cr Arkan said.

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Cr Arkan showed fellow councillors photographs he had taken outside of Woolgoolga Public School of an afternoon when buses and parents arrive to collect students.

“There’s cars coming and reversing, the busses are all intertwined with the crossings and the car parks either side,” Cr Arkan stated.

Cr Arkan instead suggested using the roadside beside Woolgoolga Skatepark and Centennial Reserve in Beach Street where there is already a bus stop for a pick up area for the school students.

“There’s no cars down there, there’s no grouping of traffic,” Cr Arkan said.

“There’s actually a concrete walkway that comes down the hill to that little canteen area there.

“This would reduce the entanglement of cars, parents, buses, children in Scarborough Street.”

Cr Arkan called on Council to provide a report on the issue, particularly on the use of Beach Street as a school pickup area.

“I really want to have a look at that option there, in regards to Woolgoolga,” Cr Arkan said.

“The bus kids would come down to that pick up.

“I’m keen to get the report coming back and I hope you all support it.”

Cr Tegan Swan said it was a “really brilliant idea” but that the parking issues at the school were not an isolated incident.

“If you look at pretty much the majority of schools across our LGA this is an ongoing issue,” Cr Swan said.

Cr Swan called on Council to require supporting infrastructure from the State Government when schools are developed within the local government area.

“The individual schools don’t have the capacity to do this infrastructure work,” Cr Swan said.

“What opportunities are available to us to work with State Government and the schools to be able to do this and other projects to make them safer because it’s ongoing, it’s everywhere, it’s a nightmare.”

Council’s General Manager Steve McGrath said Council could bring back a report on the issue.

“The State Government’s approach to new developments around hospitals normally, around police stations, courthouses is that they don’t always factor in the ancillary infrastructure that’s necessary like parking etc.,” Mr McGrath said.

“We’ve had some success in negotiating good outcomes in that space, but it’s been a challenge.

“But nevertheless, we can bring some information back about that.”

Cr Keith Rhoades said he would be seeking a further report from Council in the future to try and get a missing link of footpath outside of Mary Help of Christians Primary School at Toormina fixed, which school students currently have to negotiate around.

“Child safety is paramount,” Cr Rhoades stated.

Councillors unanimously agreed for Council to investigate and bring back a report, looking at and providing options for parking and “children drop off areas” at Woolgoolga Public School, with the report to mention and investigate the use of Beach Street alongside Centennial Reserve as a spot for school buses to drop off and pick up students.

The Council report will be presented to councillors at a future Council meeting.

 

By Emma DARBIN

 

Cr John Arkan has called on Coffs Harbour City Council to investigate the use of Beach Street as a spot for school buses to drop off and pick up Woolgoolga Public School students. Photos: Emma Darbin.

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