Have your say on schools - mayor

GERMARI HERSELMAN
Last updated 16:10 30/01/2014
alistair sowman
Emma Allen

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Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman urges people to make submissions on the future of secondary education in Blenheim, and he is leading by example.

Submissions must be in by Monday.

** Submissions can be made to Janet Kelly at: janet.kelly@xtra.co.nz 

"I have voiced my concerns in my submission about the lack of information and the very tight timeframe," Mr Sowman said.

"I have encouraged parents to put in submissions even with the lack of information - even if all they state is that they are keen for further investigation of options to be done in Marlborough," he said.

"I don't want our region to miss out."

In the face of costly property maintenance and upgrade issues at both Blenheim colleges, the ministry and the boards have taken the opportunity to explore options for the colleges.

One of the options envisages Marlborough Boys' College relocated to the Marlborough Girls' College grounds.

Mr Sowman said Marlborough was lucky to have been given the opportunity to discuss these options.

"It is important to think carefully about what our young people need as they prepare for a future of work, remembering many of them will be going into jobs in industries that don't currently exist," he said.

Mr Sowman said that in his submission, he had asked for more consultation to allow the best models of education for Blenheim to be explored.

The community was not keen to support the status quo or both schools located at one site with the space limitations, he said.

However, people were keen to investigate other options, Mr Sowman said.

Consultation co-ordinator Janet Kelly said she was relieved that the number of submissions had been rising every day.

"Last count yesterday we had just over 160 submissions, which is double we had after the last meeting," she said.

The submissions were mixed, with many parents taking the time to put a lot of research into their submissions and others simply saying they wanted more information, she said.

"There is a lot of support to find a way of moving the colleges closer together, sharing facilities but keeping them two separately functioning schools," Ms Kelly said.

Concerns were raised during the consultation meetings about traffic congestion if the colleges are placed on the same site.

Marlborough Roads highway manager Frank Porter said his initial thought was that a practicable solution was likely to be available if the two schools were put on one site.

However, until a firm proposal was made, Marlborough Roads had no reason to get involved.

"If a proposal is made after the submissions process, Marlborough Roads' Blenheim traffic model would need to be reviewed. The effects on traffic . . . would then need to be assessed in more detail before any final decisions would be made," he said.

 

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- The Marlborough Express

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