The BCC respond to its constituents and make comment about the result of the decision by ACT Government to decline the development proposal in its latest newsletter.
Whilst we could address many points herein, it is of primary note that the BCC school Board make a claim “…we see the College as being an integral part of the 4000 residents..” (of Lyneham)
BCC Newsletter on the website here.
“Once again thank you to the 150 + families who responded to the ACT Government’s ‘Have Your Say’ website. I can only say that I am personally disappointed, as is the Board and College Executive, that the Government did not recognise and defend the benefit to the ‘entire’ Lyneham community let alone Brindabella Christian College’s 800 children of a fully maintained oval and the associated sporting and community facilities we were offering.
As a Board we see the College as being an integral part of the 4000 residents, 3000 children of three co-located schools alongside a diverse range of shops owners and local business owners that all make up the greater Lyneham Community. At no time did Brindabella in any way ‘Hit Back’ at the Local Lyneham Community as suggested in the press.
Over the past year I have personally dealt with Denis O’Brian as the initial primary community focussed objector of the lack of consultation around the Brindabella project back in November of 2014. As founder and Chair of the Lyneham Community Association, Dennis and I have always shown each other the greatest respect and courtesy in debating the merits of the project along the way. On personal reflection and understanding of what was at stake Dennis personally voted ‘Yes’ in the recent ‘Have Your Say’ survey, saying a great deal about his character. We now share a common goal to heal the rifts within the local community that have sadly been exaggerated in the local press.
We share, and remain to share, serious concerns with the underlying misrepresentation of the facts and the deception of sensational headlines such as “Lyneham residents appalled at attack by Christian College”. Whilst the Press is free to adopt any headline, our criticism is in the assumption that comments by a few people somehow reflect the view of 4000 residents after the article was run, simply an impossible position for anyone to reach in the timeframe between the two news stories; and in itself another misrepresentation by overreaching on the truth.
Personally, as actually accurately reported by Ross Peak in the one and only conversation we had on the matter, I find myself far more disappointed that Minister Rattenbury had reacted on this so swiftly and publicly given at a recent meeting in his office I had advised him that the College would be working to a revised timeline of October 2016 for the required deadline with the Commonwealth on the use of $800,000.00 in Capital Grant funding toward the project; and therefore ultimately only needing to reach an agreed outcome shortly before that point in time.
Furthermore, the ‘Have Your Say’ ACT Government website invited detailed comments along with the basic ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ questions. It would be simply impossible to interrogate the breadth of the data in the comments fields alongside the certainty of duplicate submissions from single households and potential that abuse by those intent on derailing the project in one single business day. The fact less than 10% of the 4000 Lyneham and surrounding households responded, not to mention being advised by members of the local community that a number of people in the surrounding areas did not receive the invitation to comment, all makes going public one business day after the close of the survey lack true credibility.
In the November 2014 Public Meeting Minister Rattenbury, committed to allocate High-Level resources and drive the consultation process for the 7-months from November’s Public Meeting to the second Public Meeting in June of this year. At no time was there any indication to Brindabella by the Minister or his Department that the Local Lyneham Community, Lyneham High or Lyneham Primary were not adequately being consulted along the way by the executives of the ACT Government.
For the Minister to refer to Brindabella as a proponent of the project and portraying the Government as a third party to all of this, as opposed to the College working closely with the ACT Government to deliver this project, significantly misrepresents and distances our actual historical relationship with all the excellent Government Officials we worked alongside.
As a College we received an e-mailed letter the night before the Minister went on ABC666 morning talkback radio without any prior notice or further discussion on the matter.
We can only look forward to working toward a better result sometime in the future with an receptive mix of Government in place and the necessary perceived increase in local community support. Therefore, for those who feel compelled to express their views somehow lost in the back end of the ‘Have Your Say’ website, I would encourage you to express your sentiments directly to the Government; as it would seem that some 476 unvetted ‘No’ responses has now sealed the fate of the Oval for years to come. Letters via e-mail to the Chief Minister’s Office can be sent to: Barr@act.gov.au
That said, as a Board we are now reprioritising our efforts based on further Grant Applications we had also submitted on behalf of the College to the Federal Government simultaneously during this complex period with the ACT Government.