#City & Town Planning
Premier Baillieu, Minister Guy and Minister Dixon

Sophia Mundi Steiner School is a not-for-profit organisation that has been in Abbotsford for 25 years and is a strong supporter of the community. The School was a founding tenant at the Abbotsford Convent and has invested $2m of its own money to refurbish the derelict Convent buildings which it now leases back from the Convent.

The school's investment was instrumental in securing the survival of the Convent in its early years of development. Today parents, staff, students and friends frequent the Convent precinct and contribute significant business to the wider tenant community.

After losing its second leased campus in Nicholson St, when the Melbourne Catholic Archdiocese sold it off to make way for more inner city apartments, the school has worked diligently to try and find a replacement site in and around the Collingwood/Abbotsford area; its Nicholson St lease is terminated at the end of the year.

This led the School to propose a development for new classrooms and a new public access playground on the site of the disused swimming pool - a space for the whole community to use during non-school hours and in high traffic times. This new playground land would be left undeveloped and inaccessible without the School's plan.

Working with stakeholder groups the School created a proposal that is supported by the Abbotsford Convent Foundation and has been approved by Heritage Victoria. This proposal was developed with the support of the Collingwood Children's Farm and creates no loss of space or land for the farm.

The School has created a sensitive building proposal that responds to the legitimate needs of all Convent stakeholders. But that proposal now needs to go ahead if the school is to survive and thrive. The School owns no buildings or land and this proposal is its last and only option.

The School has recently been certified as an International Baccalaureate Diploma School. This means it can deliver on its vision of offering two world renowned education systems in a small school setting on the Convent grounds. However it cannot deliver this without the Planning Minister's timely approval of its planning permit application. We need the Minister's approval quickly in order to make preparations for our senior and prep children in 2012.

Please join us in sending a strong message that:
• the School's building proposal is reasonable, sensitive
and supported by the community
• a failure to approve or delay consideration of the
building proposal puts the school's viability at
substantial risk
• the School and its educational offering is special and
worthy of protection.

We, the undersigned, call on the Planning Minister, Matthew Guy, to approve Sophia Mundi Steiner School's building proposal to build classrooms and re-locate its playground at the Convent precinct; a proposal supported by the Abbotsford Convent Foundation, Collingwood Children's Farm and approved by Heritage Victoria, and one that enables the opening up of public land to share with the wider community.

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The Support Sophia Mundi's Future at the Abbotsford Convent petition to Premier Baillieu, Minister Guy and Minister Dixon was written by Leslie Arnott and is in the category City & Town Planning at GoPetition.