Alphington High School gate removed in fight for public access to creek

“Many schools across Melbourne have campuses that cross public land and they have found solutions to this problem that do not involve blocking access to public land.”

Alphington Grammar School principal Dr Vivianne Nikou said on Wednesday security footage from the school showed two people removing the door at around 6.45pm the night before, in a job that lasted about two minutes.

The school taped a temporary gate to the trail, but Nikou said people were taking the opportunity to walk their dogs through the removed gate early and out to the creek Wednesday morning.

“Some local residents are deliberately provocative by marching and saying, we have a right to be here, among the children arriving,” Nikou said.

By afternoon, a member of the public had removed the temporary doors with an angle grinder, in broad daylight. Nikou said the school is considering its legal options.

Alphington and Fairfield Civic Association president Todd Perry said residents of the southern part of Alphington just wanted access to open space along the creek.

“It’s been really drilled at home with lockdowns over the last two years that open space is very important to us.”

During public consultations, the school told the council of its concerns that restoring public access to Old Heidelberg Road “does not meet mandatory child safety standards”.

“It is incredibly traumatic for young children to be confronted with strangers when they should feel safe in their own schoolyard, and this has happened many times in recent years,” he said. he declares.

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“Teachers on duty and supervising outdoor sports activities should routinely discourage obviously undesirable people from loitering for the purpose of photographing students.”

VicRoads also investigated building a new link to the Darebin Creek Trail via Old Heidelberg Road, but rejected the idea due to concerns about student safety, environmental impact, and high cost. Instead, he is building a $9.1 million road a short distance south of the school that will connect the trail to Farm Road.

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