Private school plans to build campus in Minto Heights bushland

Pictures: Imam Ali College website
Pictures: Imam Ali College website

A private primary school has signalled its intention to build a campus in Minto Heights despite their chosen land being too small and known koala habitat.

Imam Ali College, which currently has a base at Beverly Hills and runs classes out of Ambarvale’s Thomas Acres Primary School, has submitted documents to the Department of Planning outlining the desire to build a kindergarten-year 6 school on the corner of Howard Road and Florence Avenue.

The documents, which can be publicly viewed at the Department of Planning’s Major Projects website, indicate the proposed school would cater for more than 500 students.

“The Imam Ali College vision is to provide a values-based education that follows the Australian curriculum and teaches students about values such as equality, honesty, kindness, generosity and respect, in a supportive environment that promotes self-discipline, motivation and excellence in learning,” the document said.

“The College proposes to open a new school at Minto Heights that will accommodate up to 560 students between kindergarten and year 6, together with 35 staff. 

“A staged student population growth is proposed over a six-year period, commencing with 135 kindergarten and year 1 students in the first year.

“The proposed new college will welcome students of all nationalities, religions and cultures.”

The document, prepared by Andrew Robinson Planning Services, also listed a raft of serious issues that would need to be overcome for the school to be built.

Firstly, the proposed site of the school is just 3.58 hectares – significantly smaller than the minimum 10-hectare space required for educational establishments under the Campbelltown Local Environment Plan.

Additionally, the council has identified the site as ‘core’ koala habitat and is known to be bushfire prone land.

“The proposal will involve clearing/modification or native vegetation and has the potential to remove habitat for the local koala population and Cumberland Plain Land Snail, as well as impacting on Shale Sandstone Transition Forest,” the document stated.

Other drawbacks include significant existing vegetation, a lack of building structures, no potable water supply or reticulated sewerage system and no electricity infrastructure.

Information in the report also indicates the school intends to open next year. The build is estimated to be worth $15.39 million.

It would include multi-purpose sports courts, a water fountain and on-site parking for 73 vehicles in addition to the three-storey school building.

The Advertiser has contacted Imam Ali College for comment.