No lease a concern for site’s future
Margaret River Organic Garden volunteers hope the new State Government will grant them a long-term lease of their community site.
Unfunded plans for a second stage of upgrades to Margaret River Senior High School after 2020 have raised local fears the 29-year-old garden may be removed, as the Education Department caters to surging student numbers.
But last week, Education Minister Sue Ellery said it was up to the school to enter an agreement with volunteers if it chose to spare the garden.
“The previous Liberal Government wrecked the State’s finances so all spending must be carefully considered,” Ms Ellery said.
“Any redevelopment will need to go through the Budget process.
“I support community groups who want to use school facilities.
“However, the priority is for schools to have the infrastructure they need to meet enrolment growth.”
Margaret River Organic Garden volunteer Shelley Cullen said she hoped to meet with Ms Ellery to discuss saving the garden.
Mrs Cullen said there was more than enough room for the upgrades without removing the garden. “We would hope that the community is granted a long-term lease in the coming year to continue to caretake and enhance this wonderful asset,” she said.
Ms Cullen said her group’s Save the Organic Garden petition had almost 1000 signatures and would be sent to Education Department director-general Sharyn O’Neill.
“Hopefully on reading the enormous show of support demonstrated by the locals ... she will re-visit the issue and realise that all parties can be satisfied,” she said.
Volunteers argue the garden should be kept for its community value. The Education Department maintains all school land must be used for students if needed.
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