The DA also included reducing the teachers’ parking space to 2 disabled car spaces. However, this has been modified and part of the school grounds will be utilized to provide 8 parking spaces. There will be solar panels on the roof. The proposed work is to increasethe number of students from 414 to 736 and the number of teachers will increase from 18 to 32.
Members of the Epping Civic Trust and Councillor Bill Tyrrell met with representatives from School Infrastructure NSW and NSW Department of Education including the school’s Principal on 26 October 2017, to discuss using the redevelopment of the school as an opportunity to meet some of Epping’s infrastructure needs. The City of Parramatta Council has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Education whereby allowing local communities to utilize school grounds. Issues raised during the meeting included providing basement parking, increasing the capacity of the school to accommodate more than the proposed 736 students to meet Epping’s growing population needs, purchasing land to extend the school and providing additional levels with multipurpose spaces for community use. A Trust member also wrote to the Minister for Education, the Member for Epping and the relevant Greater Sydney Commissions District Commissioner with regards to the mattersdiscussed and the need for more open space/play areas to be provided such as on the roof top, in view of the shortage of open space in Epping.
It was obvious from discussions at the meeting with the Department there is a huge backlog of schools to upgrade, and there are a number of schools competing for the funds available. The Department’s lack of ability to work collaboratively with the community and assist with addressing Epping’s infrastructure needs was evident. This was confirmed in a letter to a Trust member from the Department dated 19 December 2017, which stated:
‘We acknowledge your suggestion that this development should be viewed as a collaborative project taking into account the infrastructure needs of Epping, but our position has not changed and the development application will proceed as a school upgrade.’