Wildlife not buildings on the Lower Holt

Contact the author of the petition

Land and Environment Court Holt Project proceedings have started

2022-03-20 05:14:10

Hi everyone,    

Just an update in relation to matters at the Land and Environment Court re the Frensham DA for the planned Student Accommodation Project in the Lower Holt.  

The first day of the Land and Environment Court Hearing for the DA occurred at Frensham last Friday in a closed session. A number of people presented  including Frensham Old Girls spokespeople against this DA, Sarah Cain and Jane Stanham, as well as a number of other people from the community, Win Zero - and Tania Clancy who was employed by Frensham to co-ordinate education and wildlife rehabilitation programs with the girls as part of The Duke of Edinburgh and The Jamieson Program in the Lower Holt - a designated Land for Wildlife areas.  You can see the video with the backstory on Frensham's back-flip of this program and the School’s founding principles here 

Frensham would not allow any objectors to the DA to be part of the on-site visit to the Lower Holt last Friday, however recent floods have put into question the suitability of this site due to flooding and we are hoping that the pro developers got a little bogged in the flood mud on their visit.   For those that didn’t see the video taken after the last few weeks of rain you can see the flooding that happened around the Lower Holt here

The proceedings will be going back to the Court for three days from this Monday where you can view them online live from 10am here  You can also phone in Dial: (02) 9765 5580 Meeting ID: 10193266   

On other matters, The No Time To Spare Exhibition is on at the National Trust Centre at Observatory Hill till the end of March so get in quickly if you can. It includes photos of the Lower Holt by Harold Cazneaux and Phoebe Hill. It’s great that the National Trust is putting on an exhibition about heritage under threat and is supporting us in our challenge.  

In other news, just over a week ago, Frensham Fellowship wrote to old girls about a newsletter they were going to put out. I did ask to be able to submit a letter against the Development in the Holt to present a balanced viewpoint and was told that "this is not something that is appropriate for the Fellowship to do — our constitution clearly says our objectives are “to carry on the tradition of love and service” and “to keep members in touch with the School and each other."  

This is obviously quite insulting to all the Old Girls against the DA as it implies that we are not working in the Frensham spirit of love and service, when we are actually trying to stop this development on the basis it is against the school spirit of environmental stewardship instilled by Winifred West.  

I gather the Fellowship newsletter went out and as I didn’t receive it I must have been deleted me from the mailing list. But as an Old Girl you can help by responding to these Fellowship newsletters and stating that as an Old Girl you object to the DA. This would really help as Fellowship are saying there are just a handful of  “trouble-making Old Girls” against this DA and it would be good for Fellowship to understand it's not just a handful but hundreds of us against this Development.  

The Old Girls petition you signed against the DA has been submitted to the Courts and people that asked that their names are not made public were obviously not part of what was submitted.  

Just a reminder that the Jamieson program, which was made possible by a bequest by Hilda Jamieson was about ‘The very experience of being confronted by new physical, intellectual and emotional challenges in a stimulating environment inherently exciting and immensely rewarding.'   This "Claytons" bush experience is going to cost well over 10 million dollars.  - surely the School has better ways to spend this money than destroying an important native corridor to teach our girls about the environment in some bush-huts one kilometre up the road from McDonalds! 


Sarah Martin

Lower Holt update 2022

2022-01-10 03:59:05

 

As you are aware the Frensham Lower Holt court case has been rescheduled to 21-23 March, 2022 however last week Frensham resubmitted additional information including some changes to the DA to comply with different regulations.  

Information relating to the proposed development and recent amendments can be viewed on Councils DA Tracker here  and putting in DA number  20/0747  

Changes include: 

-The Fire Pit & Amphitheatre have been deleted from the plan.  

-The pedestrian paths have been changed to Elevated Pedestrian Walkways to reduce environmental or hydrological impacts. These walkways will be located around 300mm – 350mm above the ground.  

- All building structures have been raised to clear the existing natural ground levels, which are to be maintained, whilst ensuring we maintain 400mm clear to the underside of the horizontal floor structure to meet BCA requirements for termite protection, ventilation, and maintenance access.  

We are trying to analyze the implications of these changes however the clearing of the natural habitat and vegetation remains large and it is interesting to read the risk assessment of what to do when the area floods, indicating that the structure is still in an area very prone to flooding. 

If you can lend a hand to interpret the plans please let us know.  

Also just a quick update about what happened late last year at the school’s Final Prayers. A peaceful protest against the Development was held outside the school hall .  You can watch interviews with old girls and staff here as well as other information in regards to this Development 

Headmistress, Sarah McGarry did respond in prayers in regards to the protesters, that everyone has a right to an opinion, however in a subsequent media report noted that she hoped opponents of the Development were being given the right information and that there was substantial support for the Development.

There is concern around the Board of Governors putting the school headmistress as spokesperson for this Development as she is supposed to be the person in charge of educating our children. Not providing different points of view on an issue is not providing our children with a grounded intelligent education. Nor is it enabling them to take an active role in protection of the environment which is a huge concern for young people today. 

 

What you can do now? 

Do you have the skills to provide feedback on the revised plans –there is architecture, soil, vegetation and flooding plans that have been revised.

Also social media skills as some old girls with experience in activism think it would be a good idea to set up facebook and instagram. 

Think about lobbying the board of governors who should not only be more in tune with the School’s founding principles but also have a governance structure where they have channels for discussion and debate in regards to the decisions they make which are supposed to be in the best interests of the School.  

These are the board of governors so if you know any please ask for a little bit more transparency:  Mrs Clementine Allan Ms Belinda Cassidy Ms Sarah Dulhunty Mr Paul Hunter Ms Kirsty McIvor – Sturt Nominee Mr Richard Melki Mr Sam Paradice Ms Elizabeth Stuart (Chair / Frensham Nominee) Mr Edward Studdy Mr Ross Thompson Mr David Wright – Gib Gate Nominee 

It’s not too late to put in a submission against the proposal but you need to do so by early February.  

Think about donating or joining WinZero. Many of us Old Girls now work with this local environmental organization and are always ensuring that the founding values of the School we attended are respected which we believe they are working with this group. 

Thats it for now until we have more information on hand. Please feel free to email us with ideas etc.


Sarah Martin

Frensham DA not proceeding to Land and Environment court at this stage

2021-10-08 23:14:48

Hi everyone,

I am sure many of you have heard that Frensham Schools has vacated their legal action in the Court around the Development Application due to be held next week.

"Our aim remains to gain approval for a DA which genuinely finds the balance between our educational commitment and our long-held environmental ethos and values," Frensham said.

We are hoping this has opened the door for true consultation as more accommodation could easily be built in already cleared areas and the girls could still walk across the old red bridge or road to access the bush for environmental education, holting, rejuvenating, replanting, preserving...

We will get back to you if we need to ramp up our campaign again which would be the case if Frensham are just delaying this court case to further develop their existing plans.

A big thanks to everyone that has signed the petition to date, and to all the old girls who have helped in so many ways. We have old girls who have used their skills to assess the real footprint of this development, old girls who have been analysing the constitution to see how this land can be preserved forever,  old girls who are part of Win Zero who have worked tirelessly, and whose work continues. 

We've also had former Frensham staff who have worked so hard to preserve this space and if this petition was done again it would include staff as well.

There is still work to be done as koalas have been sighted around the Holt as recently as September, and the region is thought to have 10% of the koala population. We also need to consider the soil and water as well as the plants and animals on the Lower Holt as they all form part of an eco-system which makes up this area which needs to be preserved.

I think the thing that has really been heightened the most to us all is how the words of Winifred West have spoken to us across the years and united generations of old girls to save this area. 


Sarah Martin

Case proceeding to the Land and Environment Court in a week

2021-10-03 07:22:47

Hi everyone,    

Well it’s been a busy week with an information session run by Win Zero including presentations from Frensham staff and old girls around the problems with the DA which you can watch here.     

This was followed by finally receiving Frensham’s response to the questions that we were asked to pre-submit for the information sessions which you can read here.    

If you would like to take your name off this petition which opposes the DA after reading Frensham’s response please do so.    

Land and Environment Court in a week   

I just wanted to remind you that the legal proceedings are scheduled for the Land and Environment Court (12-14 October).   

If you think that this development on the Lower Holt is still the wrong thing for our School to do, you can write a letter objecting to the Development.    

These letters need to be submitted to Wingecarribee Shire Council by 11 October   

Submissions must be addressed to the: Acting General Manager,  Wingecarribee Shire Council   Email mail@wsc.nsw.gov.au     Re: APPLICATION NUMBER: 20/0747  PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT: AMENDED PLANS LODGED FOR SCHOOL (STUDENT ACCOMMODATION) AS PART OF LAND & ENVIRONMENT COURT APPEAL FOR FRENSHAM DA 20/0747, CASE NUMBER 2021/00088697,   

Note: Please remember to refer to this application in your letter and provide your email address and a contact telephone number when making your submission    

Some of the reasons you have included in the petition to oppose it which you can include in your letter are below and in previous correspondence      

We need to also get more current parents publicly on board to oppose this DA   

Despite the fact, I am both author of this Old Girls petition and a parent of a child currently at Frensham, and despite a number of parents speaking up against this DA at the parent’s information session, a person at a Frensham meeting of members last week commented that most current parents are not against this Development –implying that is only us Old girls who are.  We know this isnt the case but if you have signed this petition and are also a parent, and if you haven't already, please write to the School about your opposition to this DA. 

If you know of any parents who aren’t Old Girls, who mightn’t understand the philosophy of stewardship vs development of Frensham land,  please take the time to chat to them of the ethos of the School.  short biography by Priscilla Kennedy or buy the Portrait of Winifred West online here 

My own concerns as a parent of a student currently studying at the School is that the teachings of Winifred West are not being practiced but merely preached.  (Frensham studies program year 7) 

-I am also concerned what kind of role model the School are presenting to their students in their litigious actions.  Reinforcing the idea that if you can afford a lawyer, better to go to court first and consult later. This also implies that if you have the power there is no need to have regard for laws and principles intended to promote the greater good (which was a huge, huge part of Winifred West's teachings).  

-I am also nervous as the School says it teaches its girls the principles of “Critical, ethical and flexible thinking “ but will the girls be able to ask questions about why there are all these Stop the Chop signs around the School when they get back on campus and will they actually get informed answers?  

Before I sign off I’m just recapping some reasons against the DA you might like to include in your letters     

1)There are other options that dont require land clearance for the School to teach students about the natural environment   

2) The selection criteria is flawed  - "Embedded in natural setting - in the bush, but walking distance to campus facilities," ...and McDonalds and to the residential part of Mittagong etc can never provide the students with the atmosphere the School is claiming it will receive here. 

 3)  If extra beds are required then build on space already cleared and get the students to walk to the natural environment of the Holt  -not vice-versa (at a cost of at least 10 million dollars). 

4) The DA is inconsistent with the Environmental and Planning Assessment Act 1979 (the Act) which promotes the social and economic welfare of the community and a better environment by the proper management, development and conservation of the State’s natural and other resources -the School leaders at Frensham are not seeing the school as being part of something bigger which was a huge thing for Winifred West. In doing this, they are failing to fulfil their social contract with the school, its local community, their own students and the land and its flora and fauna which the School is custodian of.   

 5) The footprint of this Development is still much bigger then the School have indicated -especially after all the clearing they will have to do for RFS  The area to be developed has an eco-system which includes endangered plant species, platypus and its habitat which would most likely be disturbed, koalas and the wombats and their ancient burrows.   

 6) The environmental impact of this development necessitates the removal of 249 trees which  will cause wildlife death from mammals and birds to soil microorganisms.    

7)  Regrowing a forest from tube stock can never replicate the properties of an established forest community.  

8) The development of this area could negatively impact the wellbeing of the girls –as indicated by the Old Girls who signed them petition –many relied on it for good mental health  

 9) In Frenshams letter of response to questions they received they said they chose this site as it “minimised impact and maximised the educational and environmental potential of the project." In fact this site has established wildlife in a critically endangered forest community, plus having an established waterway with platypus with adjacent Riparian Zone and a Wildlife Corridor   

10) As an uncleared site, the Lower Holt is subject to major impact from RFS Asset Protection Zone/ Flame Zone clearance regulations. Implementation of these requirements will damage the forest community and the waterway inhabited by koalas, wombats, platypus and other terrestrial/aqua/insect life.   

11) We aren't hearing anything about a new plan for environmental education with this 10 million dollar building plan but we are hearing of the destruction of existing environmental programs to achieve this. 

Finally some of the questions about Frensham's response to our questions... 

 1) School- At the time that the School chose to become a Land for Wildlife site, this project had not been conceived. The School consulted about its future plans, prior to the submission of the DA, with the wildlife carer who remains involved in the School’s rehabilitation program and regularly undertakes activities with students in the Holt. The project has been specifically designed to minimise the impact on the wildlife in this area.  

 - A School representative said in the parent information session that they had been working on this plan since 2014. Tania Clancy, who runs the wombat rehabilitation program did not even contact the school until late 2016 and never would have released orphaned animals into the Holt if she had known of this development proposal. 

 2) School -After the Wingecarribee Shire Council deferred the third Development Application, and the Council was subsequently suspended, Frensham School felt it had no choice but to pursue a legal pathway in order to obtain a decision given the limited timeframe in which the School could appeal the deferral.   

-It did have a clear choice to do as Council had asked and regardless it would have been the "Frensham way" being part of the local community, to consult with it. 

 3) School -We had wanted to hold additional Information Sessions with the community in person and were not expecting the COVID-19 lockdowns to last this long. Ultimately, the need to provide additional information and to correct some misunderstanding became more important than holding sessions face-to-face.  

 -We have lived though nearly 18 months of lock-down - the School currently runs their education online so clearly knows how to run a session which can provide two- way consultation which they promised early in the year. They could easily have run a zoom session where people could provide feedback but chose not to do this but made attendees type questions instead.    


Sarah Martin

Tonight -community meeting re the proposed Frensham Student Bush Accommodation development

2021-09-29 04:22:29

Hi everyone, 

After a couple of very disappointing information sessions run by Frensham last week which did not enable us to verbally ask questions or respond to the limited information we were provided by the School, and as we still haven't got a written response to most of the questions we were asked to submit with a little over 24 hours notice of these information sessions, I just wanted to notify you of a meeting being held by WinZero - a local community environment group -this afternoon at 5pm.

In this session you can hear about some of the specifics of the Development Approval conditions, the Land for Wildlife Program that has been running at the School under the Jamieson Program etc Details as to how you can register for this evening's events are below.

On re-reading a short  biography of Winifred West  by Priscilla Kennedy, I am not only reminded how much our Schools' founder would be against this development, but also the School's whole approach in pushing this DA forward.

Along these lines we are going to start collecting some stories from Old girls and staff about how the teachings of Winifred West have influenced their lives, ideology and have created a shared document where you can share your stories. Many made reference to this in your comments when signing this petition.

Please also feel free to respond by email if you are interested and we can also organise to have a chat to some Old Girls who'd prefer to talk not type. Email details are in this petition


Sarah Martin

Holt project – questions for information sessions -

2021-09-15 13:15:42

Hi all,

Frensham has now run two information sessions and there will be one tomorrow.

The Session is scheduled for 5pm - 6pm on Thursday 16 September 2021.

You need to book here

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/community-online-information-session-holt-education-area-frensham-school-registration-171693859957?ref=eios

Below are the questions that Frensham girls submitted to Sarah the headmistress, and Libby Stewart, the Chair today- the general reaction to the responses from Frensham to these questions at these information meetings has been that the School's response has been inadequate but they have promised to respond to them over the next few days.

 

Frensham heritage and reputational damage
1. Given the extensive reputational damage to the School, particularly in the
local community and now in the national media, and noting that this damage is
likely to have an impact on enrolments which ultimately affects the financial
viability of the School, what measures will the School take to address this
significant reputational damage?
2. Please speak to the reasons you think this proposal is causing such
distress and why you have chosen not to address this issue with those
concerned.
3. Do you think this development goes against Winifred West's philosophy
and school ideals around environmental stewardship and having a space for girls
to just be part of nature?
4. Why was the School happy to get a local person to run a program with
Frensham students to rehabilitate wombats at the Lower Holt, promoting this
program via public relations channels such as videos as a means of
demonstrating that the girls were environmentally responsible, when at the very
same time the School was planning this development right over the top of this
ancient "wisdom" of wombats.
5. In the interests of transparency, could you please explain who originally
proposed this? Who on the Board of Directors support this? Who developed the
plans? Was there a tender process? Who is funding this and where are the funds
for this coming from?
6. Is it true that this project will cost up to $13.5m.
7. Given the reputational damage that the School has incurred by not
consulting with the community as directed by the Council and instead going
straight to the Land and Environment Court under a deemed refusal claim.
Should the Broad of Governors rethink this strategy and withdraw from the
Land and Environment Court case and rethink and redesign this project?
Consultation / information sessions
8. Why have these information sessions been held in such a rush – with only
24 hours notice – and particularly given the pressures that many people are
currently under in the Covid lockdown.
9. In the interests of transparency, can you confirm that these information
sessions have been proposed now to support the school’s submissions to the
Court demonstrating evidence of community consultation?
10. Please explain why Frensham has completely disregarded all approaches,
letters and communication from the local community (also stakeholders) about
the importance of this habitat corridor that runs along the Nattai River through
Lower Holt and does the School plan to consult with them at some stage?
11. Is Frensham prepared to take advice and recommendations from
concerned members of the public, parents and Old Girls and consider changing
their plans?
12. If the Land and Environment Court approves the DA – will the School still
go ahead with this project?
Environmental impact / responsibility to community
13. Frensham has engaged in a widely advertised education programme
made possible by its unique heritage in ownership of The Holt. Given the benefits
the school and its students have long derived from this position, please state how
you view the school's moral responsibility to the Critically Endangered Mt
Gibraltar Shale Woodland Ecological Community contained within The Holt.
14. Why would the school choose to build in this area which will require
more than $300,000 in biodiversity offsets for the environmental damage when
the School has numerous options to avoid the damage?
15. How is the development going to preserve the wildlife and the
biodiversity corridors during and after the build?
Impact on the Holt
16. Why have you not provided true transparency to all the community about
the Rural Fire Service conditions of approval and list of the main ones? (access
roads, bridge, turning circles, passing bays, parking for 15 cars, underground
services, fire hydrants and ll weather surfaces etc) 249 trees and 4.2ha to be
cleared?
17. Taking into account the land required to be cleared by the RFS as part of
its policies for fire protection measures & access, what is the true footprint of the
project?
18. How will the proposed arena cater for water, sewerage & drainage
requirements - eg can you confirm that laying of sewerage / water pipes will
require extensive digging of the Holt, impacting adversely on existing wombat
holes?
19. Were any alternative locations researched? If so, please provide details of
these locations and why they weren’t successful?
20. Given the cost of the project – would Frensham consider purchasing land
at a much less cost, for this purpose & experience rather than destroying the
Holt.
Educational value
21. What is the educational justification for this development and could these
be achieved without permanently impacting the Lower Holt environment?
22. If this is like Glengarry or Timbertop, (note – those facilities are in the
bush on hundreds of acres, with little or no internet access, and with students
unable to go home on weekends) how will this be a bush experience if it’s across
the road from classrooms, dining room & boarding houses and less than 1km
from McDonalds?
23. How will sleeping in the proposed bush accommodation but attending
classes and meals on the main campus “push boundaries and allow students to
take calculated risks in an ‘isolated’ environment free from social disruption”?
(Jamieson Project goal)
24. Will Frensham’s student numbers increase from 360, if the project was to
go ahead?
25. Why does Frensham think tearing down a natural habitat to teach
students about nature is educational?
26. Is it fair to have a major new educational commitment on a new Head
particularly when it is necessary to upgrade to older facilities?
27. Why has Frensham deleted the Master Plan 2030 from its website?
Equestrian Centre
28. Is this a “soft” build before the proposed equestrian arena? If so, how big
is the proposed area? And what other land will be required for the stabling,
yards, viewing stands, toilets, sand areas, cleaning facilities etc? Does the school
genuinely need an equestrian arena?

 

 


Sarah Martin

Frensham Lower Holt meeting this evening

2021-09-15 00:01:37

Hi everyone,

Late yesterday many of you might have received notification that Frensham will be holding information sessions this afternoon/evening about the Lower Holt.

You need to register to attend and must send questions to be asked prior. This is definitely not the open consultation feedback session we were promised by the School a while ago, and many of us feel that is an attempt to demonstrate that consultation has occurred before the School proceeds to the Land And Environment Court to push the DA through.

Having said that I would encourage you to register if you haven't received the emails about the event.

Wendy Farrow is collating a list of questions if you would like to put them in communally but you need to get them to her by midday wendyfarrow1@gmail.com

 

- Frensham and Gib Gate Parents and Carers  
 
 
The session is scheduled for 5-6pm tomorrow, Wednesday 15 September 2021.
 

- Frensham Fellowship

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/alumnae-online-information-session-holt-education-area-registration-171658564387

The Session is scheduled for 6:30pm-7:30pm on Wednesday 15 September 2021. 

 

Also there are still two petitions circulating against this DA -one is the Frensham old girls one which you have signed because you are getting this email but if you could send it around one last time that would be  good.  https://www.petitions.net/environmental_education_not_buildings_on_the_lower_holt

The other is the community petition, for those that arent Frensham girls but I have also signed this as have other Old Girls.  https://me.getup.org.au/petitions/stop-destruction-of-wildlife-habitat-in-mittagong

Both petitions will be submitted to Land and Environment Court by next week.

If for any reason after this evening or at anytime before Friday - you wish to take your name off this petition then feel free to do so.

Kind Regards Sarah

 

 


Sarah Martin

Correspondence from the School re Lower Holt

2021-08-23 10:44:21

Monday 23 August 2021


Dear members of the Frensham Schools community,

We are writing to provide an update about the School’s plans for Student Accommodation in the Lower Holt, following correspondence we have received from our community about the project.

We have heard the positive and negative feedback from various members of our community, and in response have commissioned a more comprehensive ecological study to focus on flora and fauna and the impact of our proposed development. We do not yet have the results from this study but will share them with you when we do.


As outlined in the Head’s letters in June and early July 2021, the School is planning to hold an information session about this project, which will give everyone an opportunity to ask questions and give feedback. Whilst COVID-19 has significantly disrupted our plans to hold this session in person, we are still planning to hold it online in the coming weeks.


We are very keen to share with our community the strong educational rationale for the project as well as the ways in which we plan to continue to improve the environment in the Lower Holt.


The Head spoke at the most recent Fellowship Committee meeting about ways in which the School can keep the Old Girl community informed and engaged about this project alongside other aspects of school life and educational strategy.


We acknowledge the various correspondence sent to the Company, the Board of Governors, and the Head. It may take some time to acknowledge these messages individually, given the volume of correspondence relating to COVID-19 and the operational implications for the School at this time and we thank you for your understanding.
We continue to invite your comments through feedback@frensham.nsw.edu.au.

 

With kind regards
Ms Elizabeth Stuart Chair of Frensham Schools Head of Frensham
Sarah McGarry Head of Frensham Schools


Sarah Martin

An incorrect accusation on the

2021-08-04 22:44:47

Sorry everyone, apparently the decision to progress & apply for this DA was made by the former Head of Frensham & the Board of Governors. The Winifred West Schools Ltd (the ‘Company’) had no role in making this decision.

So where I have said Company, please adjust to Board of Governors. This statement should now read.

 

Dear Frensham old girl,  People who are yet to sign this petition and some that have are asking for more information about the concerns around Development Application 20/0747 in regards to developing the Lower Holt for student accommodation buildings and multi-purpose hall and also what is currently happening. 

I have responded below drawing some issues from the comments of the Old Girls who have already signed this petition.   

Concerns with this DA include: 

1) Building an Outward-Bound/Timbertop kind of experience on land right next to Mittagong town is just a bad idea in the first place. A bush experience can be gained without destroying the bush by walking 10 minutes from the main campus and or camping.   

2) Having a place like the Lower Holt was an important part of the founding philosophy of the School.  Winifred West viewed this space as important for the joy and freedom it would bring to all who knew it. “Countless people have found its peace to be a great source of renewal. It is a priceless possession to all Frensham people”  The fact that the Board of Governors made the decision to develop this space, makes many of us concerned that they are losing sight of the important things that have made Frensham what it is.   Frensham has always taken pride in its environmental stewardship and being a part of the community. This development and the lack of consultation around it appears to undermines these values.  

3) Tearing down a natural habitat to teach students about nature is self-defeating - why destroy to educate? Why not implement more programs to teach students how to preserve it instead? And get lessons about botany, geology and geography along the way.  

4)  Whilst the area beneath the actual buildings may be only 0.8 hectares, the Rural Fire Service dictates the amount of cleared land that is required as an Asset Protection Zone around these buildings. This increases the area of the land clearing to 4.2 hectares which includes the roadways, passing bays, turning circles, utilities areas etc. 

5) Despite the fact the school claims this new development will be a unique area without adverse ecological impact, there are many that claim there will be much adverse impact which is why the Council asked that Development Application be DEFERRED due to significant public concern about environmental impacts and incremental loss, fragmentation and vulnerability of this Endangered Ecological Community (Southern Highlands Shale Woodlands) and the potential long term and irrevocable habitat impacts associated with this development including (but not limited to) koala feed trees.  

6) The School has claimed that the site does not compromise any published or identified regional corridors, flyways or other habitat connectivity features.  This is contested. This location in the Lower Holt is an important “pinch point” in the “Primary Biodiversity Corridor” between Mt Gibraltar and Mt Alexandra. 

7) Mean behavior- the School was happy to get a local person to run a program with Frensham students to rehabilitate wombats at the Lower Holt. One of the wombats was even named after Winifred West. The School happily promoted this program via public relations channels such as videos as a means of demonstrating that the girls were environmentally responsible. The thing is this was probably happening at the very same time as the School were planning this development right over the top of this ancient" wisdom" of wombats.  

8) Which comes to the last issue which has raised its head since we have created this petition which while not directly relation to the DA, raises concerns about the lack of consultation by the School including addressing the concerns of stakeholders like old girls who appear to have no clear avenues to raise concerns or have them addressed.  We are yet to receive a date for the Information Session about this development that the School has promised nor a response from the Board to Old Girls concerns raised in this petition.  Apparently the Board is not required to respond.  

 Perhaps it is time for the Board of Governors to relook at the original values of the School. We are not writing this petition because we are against Frensham but because we are trying to preserve what we hold very dear to our hearts. 

Please share this petition to other old girls as we would like to take it back to the School before they spend anymore money in the Land and Environment Court. You can share this link to the petition https://www.petitions.net/environmental_education_not_buildings_on_the_lower_holt 

Please do not sign this petition if you are not an old girl as the school will not view this petition as legitimate if it isn't old girls who sign it. There is a petition created by Winzero.com.au for members of the community. Sarah Martin 


Sarah Martin

Concerns about Frensham's DA in relation to the Lower Holt

2021-08-04 09:45:42


Dear Frensham old girl,

 




People who are yet to sign this petition and some that have are asking for more information about the concerns around Development Application 20/0747 in regards to developing the Lower Holt for student accommodation buildings and multi-purpose hall and also what is currently happening.

 

I have responded below drawing some issues from the comments of the Old Girls who have already signed this petition.  

 

Concerns with this DA include:

 



1) Building an Outward-Bound/Timbertop kind of experience on land right next to Mittagong town is just a bad idea in the first place. A bush experience can be gained without destroying the bush by walking 10 minutes from the main campus and or camping.  

 



2) Having a place like the Lower Holt was an important part of the founding philosophy of the School.  Winifred West viewed this space as important for the joy and freedom it would bring to all who knew it. “Countless people have found its peace to be a great source of renewal. It is a priceless possession to all Frensham people” 



 

The fact that the Company that now runs the School is planning to develop this space, makes many of us concerned that they are losing sight of the important things that have made Frensham what it is.  

 



Frensham has always taken pride in its environmental stewardship and being a part of the community. This development and the lack of consultation around it appears to undermines these values.  



 

3) Tearing down a natural habitat to teach students about nature is self-defeating - why destroy to educate? Why not implement more programs to teach students how to preserve it instead? And get lessons about botany, geology and geography along the way. 

 



4)  Whilst the area beneath the actual buildings may be only 0.8 hectares, the Rural Fire Service dictates the amount of cleared land that is required as an Asset Protection Zone around these buildings. This increases the area of the land clearing to 4.2 hectares which includes the roadways, passing bays, turning circles, utilities areas etc.

 



5) Despite the fact the school claims this new development will be a unique area without adverse ecological impact, there are many that claim there will be much adverse impact which is why the Council asked that Development Application be DEFERRED due to significant public concern about environmental impacts and incremental loss, fragmentation and vulnerability of this Endangered Ecological Community (Southern Highlands Shale Woodlands) and the potential long term and irrevocable habitat impacts associated with this development including (but not limited to) koala feed trees. 

 



6) The School has claimed that the site does not compromise any published or identified regional corridors, flyways or other habitat connectivity features.  This is contested. This location in the Lower Holt is an important “pinch point” in the “Primary Biodiversity Corridor” between Mt Gibraltar and Mt Alexandra.

 



7) Mean behavior- the School was happy to get a local person to run a program with Frensham students to rehabilitate wombats at the Lower Holt. One of the wombats was even named after Winifred West. The School happily promoted this program via public relations channels such as videos as a means of demonstrating that the girls were environmentally responsible. The thing is this was probably happening at the very same time as the School were planning this development right over the top of this ancient" wisdom" of wombats. 

 

8) Which comes to the last issue which has raised its head since we have created this petition which while not directly relation to the DA, raises concerns about the lack of consultation by the School including addressing the concerns of stakeholders like old girls who appear to have no clear avenues to raise concerns or have them addressed. 

 

We are yet to receive a date for the Information Session about this development that the School has promised nor a response from the Board to Old Girls concerns raised in this petition.  Apparently the Board is not required to respond.  



 

Perhaps it is time for the Company to relook at the original values of the School. We are not writing this petition because we are against Frensham because we are trying to preserve what we hold very dear to our hearts.

 

Please feel free to contact me via this inbox and share this petition to other old girls as we would like to take it back to the School before they spend anymore money in the Land and Environment Court.

 

Please do not sign this petition if you are not an old girl as the school will not view this petition as legitimate if it isn't old girls who sign it.

 

There is a petition created by Winzero.com.au for members of the community.







Sarah Martin



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