Baw Baw Shire is encouraging community input on plans to use the former Athlone Primary School site as a drug addiction education and support centre.
Victoria’s Department of Education owns the non-operational site and has agreed to lease it to Drouin-based community organisation Ice Meltdown Project. All abutting land except Drouin-Korumburra Road itself is zoned for farming.
A report on the plan, distributed by the council, states the site would primarily be used as “an education centre which up-skills people who have committed themselves to being drug – free.”
“The proposed use is to provide educational classes and workshops in maintaining healthy and productive lifestyles.
“The site will be used by patrons who have completed an… eight-week rehabilitation program [at home and at their doctor’s surgery].
“Once this program has been undertaken they are welcomed into the centre where they are given the opportunity to rebuild basic life skill sets which will enable them to develop good hygiene, health, job interview skills, and stress coping skills to prevent relapses into drug addiction.”
Baw Baw Shire responded to concerns about the application by holding two drop-in information sessions in Athlone, which it states were “well attended by the local community.”
The council has since made a public appeal for further submissions.
A council spokesperson said community members have raised concerns about “safety of the community and program participants, access to emergency services, [and] future development of the land beyond the current building footprint”.
“The community expressed a desire to meet with the Department of Education to discuss this matter further, and welcome (sic) the opportunity to meet with the Minister.\
“Council invites and encourages the community to capture their concerns in a formal submission during the Notice of Application for a planning permit, which is open until 5.00pm on Friday 17 November.
“Residents can make a submission by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or in writing addressed to the Planning Department, Baw Baw Shire Council, PO Box 304, Warragul, VIC 3820. Submissions must also include the name and address of the submitter and the application number.”
A PDF of the report quoted above can also be found by clicking here.
Image: the former school site at 930 Drouin-Korumburra Road. Photo from report.
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