Noise and dust pollution from concrete cutting, and truck movements from major works being carried out at the Byron Bay Public School have left parents concerned over the impact on the children at vacation care at the school.
‘The whole place is a construction zone,’ said AJ Barikzai who has two children at the program.
‘There are cement cutters, massive trucks, barricades all over the grounds where they are laying pipes. There are a whole bunch of kids who only have access to one classroom and the basketball court.’
AJ told The Echo that parents hadn’t been informed of the work prior to booking into the program.
‘It is really expensive to have your kids there, and there was no notice to parents.’
The vacation care program is run by Byron Shire Council who have been in contact with Byron Bay Public School and the NSW Department of Education to resolve problems with the vacation care service.
‘Unfortunately Council was not warned of the extent of these issues prior to the start of the school holidays,’ Vanessa Adams, Director Corporate and Community Services, said.
A spokesperson for the NSW education department told The Echo that ‘In September 2019 advice was provided that underground cabling at the school would be upgraded during the school holidays. The school advised the council-operated vacation care service of this early that month.’
Responding to questions over the risk to children and carers over exposure to radioactive dust on the site, the NSW education spokesperson said, ‘Care has also been taken to implement appropriate dust suppression control measures when required and confirmation was obtained that the works would not pose a health risk to the community. All work is being undertaken in accordance with SafeWork NSW requirements.’
Recognising the impact on children and staff at the program Ms Adams advised that the program would be utilising alternative spaces such as the hall and covered outside learning area.
‘Children will be off-site enjoying excursions for three of the five remaining vacation care days. Council will work with the NSW Department of Education to ensure that this does not occur again in the future,’ Ms Adams clarified last Thursday.
Concerned parents can contact Council’s Children’s Services Coordinator on 6685 8118 for more information.