The Ministry of Education has given the green light for the new primary school zones in Wānaka. The zones had previously been announced by the Boards of Trustees of both primary schools but had yet to be ratified by the Ministry of Education.
Children are automatically entitled to enrol at the school where they live within either school’s designated enrolment zone. For Wānaka Primary School, all currently enrolled students will be unaffected by the enrolment schemes and can continue to attend the school. The Board has committed to ensuring that younger siblings of current families, who live outside the home zone, can enrol at Wānaka Primary School.
However, there is a transport problem looming in that pupils from Albert Town will have to cross State Highway 84.
“The transport issue will follow now that the enrolment scheme has been approved. We now move to the second stage, which will be agreement on the transport provisions to both schools. That has not yet been done and so no decisions have been made on that. [The crossing from Albert Town] is not a matter we can make at school. Those are matters for the QLDC [Queenstown Lakes Districts Council] and, because it’s a state highway, NZTA [New Zealand Transport Agency] will be involved, and also the developer of Three Parks,” Dr Hall said.
“So it’s a three-way discussion and I know the Ministry of Education has been advocating that there needs to be safe access from Albert Town to Three Parks. We remain very hopeful that there will be a suitable underpass before the start of the next school year, but that’s not a decision for the school board to make. It’s been a matter of discussion; the deputy mayor, Councillor [Calum] MacLeod is well aware of the issue, it’s just the complexity of it being a state highway, which would involve NZTA, and I assume the Three Parks developer will be involved because of the new roundabout that’s being constructed on the state highway [near Three Parks]. It’s a complicated issue and there are funding issue involved as well.”
Moreover, Dr Hall said Ballantyre Road is now “a very busy road and it doesn’t have great pedestrian access at the moment either.”
Roy Johnston, principal safety engineer of the NZTA, said, "The transport agency is aware of the problem of school pupil access across the state highway and staff are working on it, in conjunction with QLDC and Three Parks."
A drop-in session to provide more information will be held at Wānaka Primary School between 5-7pm on Monday, June 10.