Council rejects application to extend school construction site hours
Maitland City Council has knocked back an application for work hours to be extended on the Bolwarra Public School construction site.
Work is currently underway on a multi-million dollar upgrade which will include ten new permanent teaching spaces and a new library.
The application sought to extend work hours on the site in order to complete the job before the 2019 school year began.
State Government policies restrict construction and demolition work to between 7am and 5pm from Monday to Saturday, with neither allowed on Sundays or public holidays.
Hours of 7am to 10pm were initially sought, as well as 8am to 5pm on Sunday, with a break for Christmas and New Year, however as a result of public submissions it was amended to 7am to 9pm from Monday to Saturday with no work on Sunday. Commitments were also made to limit activity types after 5pm, turn off radios and close east windows.
Councillors heard from resident Neil Raymond speaking against the application, who said he had been unable to open some windows and doors in his home during construction, and had witnessed aggressive behaviour and heard explicit language used on the site.
Deb McKenzie spoke on behalf of Andrew Martin Planning, who prepared the documentation for the application, confirming that there had been problems with poor language and behaviour on the site, and said that the additional hours were only sought for internal fit-out jobs.
Cr Robert Aitchison moved that the application be denied, saying that it may have been reasonable if extreme weather had occurred, but that had not happened in this case.
“I question as to why we need to go out and change the rules for a development,” he said.
“I worry about the precedent this sets for our council.
“In this situation we’ve had fair weather, and I can’t see why this development should be behind schedule.”
Cr Peter Garnham foreshadowed a motion to approve the application, should Cr Aitchison’s motion be lost.
Cr Aitchison’s motion was won, with support from Crs Loretta Baker, Ben Whiting, Henry Meskauskas, Don Ferris and Ben Mitchell.
Crs Garnham, Mike Yarrington, Kanchan Ranadive, Sally Halliday and Mitchell Griffin voted against.
Crs Nicole Penfold and Philip Penfold were absent.