Farm-based Motueka Rudolf Steiner School plan given planning nod
The plan for a new Motueka Rudolf Steiner farm-based school at Lower Moutere has received planning permission.
School development manager Peter Garlick said obtaining resource consent for the project was a big hurdle to get over for the school community.
"The consents allow us to put a school on Rural 1 land," Garlick said. "There was no provision in the Tasman Resource Management Plan for that."
It had taken about two years and $60,000 to get that necessary nod but the celebration was muted.
"We've got stuff happening [on the farm site]," Garlick said. "While people are celebrating, they've also got a shovel in their hand."
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The independent school had reached capacity with 65 pupils at the High St former maternity hospital site it leased in Motueka. It would be able to cater for 100 pupils up to high school age on its 13.6ha farm in Lower Moutere.
"Given the inquiries we're receiving, I think we'll get to 100 very quickly," Garlick said.
Waldorf education was on the rise and most new enrolments at the Rudolf Steiner School came from outside the town.
"We're attracting young families to Motueka."
Funds permitting, the school community hoped to spend 2018 and 2019 in construction and move to the new site in February 2020. Meanwhile, work on the farm would continue including fencing and planting.
Eventually, a new kindergarten would also be built on the farm but for now its site in Wallace St was secure, Garlick said.
Fundraising was a key focus and the plan was to use prefabricated buildings that would be "quite low cost" as well as a lot of community labour. Offers of help had come from "around the world" via the Waldorf school network.
"Not this summer but hopefully, the following summer we'll have a large team of volunteers," Garlick said. "We think we can get on site for about $1.7 million."
The school was keen to hear from any businesses willing to support the project with goods and services. It also planned to hold its popular spring fair on the farm, scheduled for Sunday, September 10.