Letter to Minister for Education, James Merlino.
I regard your decision to allow Cowes Primary School to build a gymnasium in the school community sanctuary as a huge mistake.
To desecrate the last remnant vegetation in Cowes is absolutely outrageous.
Labor’s environmental credentials, therefore, are appalling.
The critically endangered Swift Parrot species use this vegetation as habitat. I know as my property abuts the sanctuary and I have observed closely the amazing bird life that lives and nests there. I have observed the Swift Parrots flying into and out of the irreplaceable vegetation since 1976 and almost each year, they do so.
On Facebook there are 381 names supporting our concerns related to the environmental destruction of this important remnant vegetation and habitat.
Also we have three hard copy pages of names on petitions that support our concerns so that’s quite a good number supporting our stand that a noisy, polluting gymnasium is not compatible with a quiet peaceful sanctuary for the fauna that inhabit this green wedge.
The flora and fauna that will be bulldozed during construction will result in the deliberate killing of Indigenous animals and habitat.
Your silence on the matter of the ruination of this incredibly unpopular decision to support and encourage the gym to be in the school community sanctuary when there are other more suitable locations in the school’s 14.5 acres, outside the sanctuary, which should be supported by you and your department and looked into.
During the fires earlier this year, three billion native animals were killed or burnt.
One billion acres or more of critical native vegetation was burnt out also.
Considering these statistics, your education department should support saving and nurturing habitats such as the sanctuary and include environmental education in the school’s curriculum.
Your lack of concern for the environment which is a great asset to the Philip Island community has caused conflict, dividing the school, teachers, parents and residents against each other.
Building the huge tennis courts into the sanctuary also caused community school conflict. Please, re-assess your decision to support the unpopular plan of building the gymnasium inside the school community sanctuary.
Unless you do, we as voters will remember your negative concern about our precious environment, and your mistake in bad decision making and lack of community consultation over the building of the gymnasium in the Cowes Primary School Community Sanctuary which will result in everlasting ramifications.
Suzanne Chadwick, Cowes.