School gains cash to fix gutters

Winchelsea Primary School principal Karen Turner and school council secretary Rochelle O’Mara celebrate the school receiving maintenance funding with pupils, from left, Reani Mawson, 6, Declan Brown, 11, Eve Mawson, 11 and Darcy Jennings, 11.

Winchelsea Primary School principal Karen Turner and school council secretary Rochelle O’Mara celebrate the school receiving maintenance funding with pupils, from left, Reani Mawson, 6, Declan Brown, 11, Eve Mawson, 11 and Darcy Jennings, 11.

WINCHELSEA Primary School has won a three-year-battle for State Government funding to replace its deteriorating gutters and downpipes.

Work to install new gutters and downpipes at the school will begin next week and completed by the end of November.

The State Government has agreed to fund the works through the education department’s emergency maintenance program.

Principal Karen Turner said the office of Education Minister James Merlino notified her of the funding last week.

She said she was “over the moon” to receive the funding after unsuccessfully applying to fix the problem at the school since 2012.

“It’s been a long time coming; as I’ve said in the past, gutters and downpipes are just a basic commodity,” Ms Turner said.

She said she became more “aggressive” in her campaigning after the school missed out on funding in the state government’s $27-million maintenance funding for school buildings program earlier this year.

“It just got to the stage after the last lot of announcements that I thought, we’re not after anything fantastic, just so the place doesn’t leak,” she said.

“It’s been a long battle, we are being recognised and supported and we’ve got somewhere here.”

Opposition MPs Nick Wakeling and Simon Ramsay recently raised the school’s issue in state parliament and called on the government to fund new gutters and downpipes.

A spokesman for Education Minister James Merlino said the department took action after the school “had a number of concerns with their gutters and downpipes which they raised directly with the minister’s office”.

“After this issue was directed to the department, the department engaged consultants to inspect and assess the issues at the school,” the spokesman said.

“The total cost of the repair works will be funded through the department’s emergency maintenance program.

“This program supports schools where maintenance issues present an O-H-and-S risk and are unable to be managed by the school.”

Winchelsea Primary School was facing a wait until mid-December to discuss the gutter issue with Mr Merlino until last week’s events.

“The minister still intends to visit the school with the Upper House Member Gayle Tierney to inspect the works and is working with the Principal to identify a suitable date,” the spokesman said.

One Response to “School gains cash to fix gutters”

  1. Phil Alexander

    Nick Wakeling and Simon Ramsay have a hide. This school has been waiting for gutters for 3 years, 2 of which they were actually in Government. They did nothing then and after being in power for less than 12 months the Andrews Labor government has provided the funds to fix the gutters.
    What a pity Conservative politicians seem to show genuine concern for the community only when they are in opposition.