THE future of the Jordan River Learning Federation school farm is now assured following an agreement reached between the Brighton Council and State Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff.
The agreement came after the Council withdrew the notification to the Education Department to remove the animals from the school farm in the centre of the Brighton township. The notification had been issued in compliance with local government by-laws following complaints regarding public health issues at the farm.
Aware of the important community role played by the school farm, Mayor Tony Foster and Council General Manager Ron Sanderson met with the Minister to develop a unique solution.
As a result Brighton Council has moved to have the school farm site re-zoned as a special zone, enabling it to operate with certainty into the future. The Minister has agreed that the Education Department will assume full responsibility for the farm’s ongoing operations.
Council unanimously agreed to ask the Tasmanian Planning Commission to make the farm school site a ‘particular purpose’ zone, which will recognise the uniqueness of the school farm, ensure better management of potential environmental health matters and land use conflicts, and enable it to operate unencumbered by local government by-laws and regulations.
The Council motion stated: That Council initiates a planning scheme amendment to rezone the school farm site in Brighton from Residential to a Particular Purpose Zone.
Mayor Foster said Council planning officers had begun the process of requesting the Tasmanian Planning Commission to approve the special zone.
He said it was a great outcome for the farm school and the community, securing the future of the farm on the current site.
“It means the farm school can continue on the existing site with the State Government assuming full responsibility for all issues, and the Minister committing to enhance and add to the school’s value and education outcomes.
“Our meeting with the Minister was highly productive with Minister Rockliff agreeing to work with us, not only to secure the future of the school farm, but also to look at the broader education needs of the Brighton community.
“That is what we have been seeking all along and I am extremely pleased with the Minister’s response.
“Brighton Council is a strong supporter of the Jordan River Learning Federation school farm and the benefits it provides for school students and the community. We wanted to ensure it was sustainable, but there were conflicts with local government by-laws and public health considerations.
“By creating a particular purpose zone for the farm and the State Government assuming full responsibility, these issues will be resolved and we can all be confident that the school farm can operate permanently on its current site.”
Mayor Foster said he was particularly pleased that Minister Rockliff would consider the future education needs of the Brighton community and he looked forward to working with him to plan and develop the necessary facilities and resources.
“Brighton is a rapidly growing region and we not only want to ensure that the farm school is developed to provide an even better learning experience for a wider group of students, but also to address the total education needs of our community.
“For example, we want to provide improved education opportunities for our students, so that they can choose to undertake their high school studies here rather than travel to Glenorchy and Hobart, as many of them do today.
“We will be meeting again with the Minister in a month or so and Council is determined to continue to progress this to achieve the best possible education outcomes for our community.
“But we have now resolved the school farm issue and that is welcomed by the Brighton Council and welcome news for the Brighton community,” Mayor Foster said.
• One of the school farm’s ewes with her triplets.