Generous gift for Mannum

Bright future: Mid Murray Council chief executive officer Russell Peate looks across the vacant Mannum Primary School allotment the State Governments may donate to the Mannum community.THE State Government may return the former Mannum Primary School land to the community after Member for Schubert Stephan Knoll supported the move in Parliament earlier this month.

The primary school, which was shut down in 2005 and split into three allotments totalling 2.12 hectares, has been on the market for more than seven years.

Mid Murray Council chief executive officer Russell Peate said the council was interested in accepting two of the land allotments and believed it had ground to do so after purchasing the adjacent school building for $165,000 in 2010.

“Mid Murray Council has approached both the State Member for Schubert Stephan Knoll and State Government for the two back allotments of the old Mannum Primary School … to be gifted to council for open space and recreation,” he said.

“We have also requested – through Stephan Knoll – a meeting with the Minister for Education Jennifer Rankine.”

If the gifting of the land was approved, the council would hold a public forum for the community to submit development ideas.

“We would try to look at commonality for the area to be developed so we could create a concept plan,” Mr Peate said.

“It (the land) may be designed with a playground; it may be an oval for a sporting team; it may be an opportunity for the school to use.”

Correspondence Mr Knoll received from Renewal SA in April confirmed there had been limited interest in the property during the time it was for sale.

“To my mind, this is a way of saying nobody really wants to buy (the land),” Mr Knoll said.

“I understand that this land is sitting on the balance sheet as part of the Government’s budget; but if no one is prepared to buy it, what is it really worth?

“I would say, to the community it is worth a lot.”

Mr Knoll accepted the council had already invested in the school building after purchasing it and spending an additional $234,000 to restore it as the Mannum Community Hub.

“The Mannum community has taken a school that had closed down and brought it back to a point where it is now a hub for the community to come together,” Mr Knoll said.

“The hub is now a hive of activity; providing local residents with a place to meet, courses for improving IT skills, services to the elderly and a community garden.

“The gifting of this land would help to complete this piece of social infrastructure.”

Mr Peate will soon learn if a meeting with the Education Minister would go ahead, and said he hoped it would be held in the next month.

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