School rebels talk tough

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Seething neighbours of a newly-approved Catholic school near Arrowtown vow to fight the decision “to the end”.
A resource consent was recently granted for a 112-pupil primary at Speargrass Flat Road – despite 26 of 28 submissions opposing it.

And after a meeting last Sunday, a group of battling locals are to lodge an appeal in the Environment Court in Christchurch next week.

Local artist Brian Millard – spokesman for the objectors – insists they have the determination and finances to succeed.

“The people who made submissions against [the school] were very disappointed that consent was given as not one person in the area is for it,” Millard says.

His home faces the site of proposed playing fields.

“We’ll take this to the Environment Court and there will be several appeals, not just one.”

Millard adds: “There are people within the group who have the resources to follow it through and we’ll be hiring the most powerful people we can find, as we believe we have a very good chance of winning.

“We wouldn’t throw money at a lost cause and this certainly isn’t a lost cause.”

The new facility would be run under the umbrella of St Joseph’s School in Queenstown.

But Speargrass Flat residents claim traffic issues and noise will be far too disruptive, with pupils needing school buses to and from the rural location.

“We’ll fight this to the end and we won’t roll over because this would affect our lives dramatically,” Millard says.