Mount Cotton State School traffic feud

PARENTS: Mount Cotton State School P&C president Karla Skow, vice-president Jess Zutt and member Lochlan Patterson, with one-year-old Fynn.
PARENTS: Mount Cotton State School P&C president Karla Skow, vice-president Jess Zutt and member Lochlan Patterson, with one-year-old Fynn.

MAIN Roads Minister Mark Bailey has called for a review of traffic conditions at Mount Cotton State School after an approach by Springwood MP and fellow minister Mick de Brenni.

But Mr de Brenni has been slammed for his intervention by parents who say he should have first talked to them.

The Mount Cotton area has just been moved into Mr de Brenni’s seat after an electoral redistribution.

P&C president Karla Skow said Mr de Brenni was yet to meet with the P&C while vice-president Jess Zutt said parents had been talking to council and state government for years about traffic issues.

They had formed a Safe School Traffic Committee about five years ago because of inadequate parking, congested traffic access and unsuitable public transport.

Parents were informed about the review in a letter from Mr de Brenni to Mount Cotton residents.

“It’s really offensive to get a letter like this in which Mick de Brenni makes out that he’s a knight in shining armour,” Ms Zutt said.

“We question his concern when he hasn’t conducted any due diligence before making these claims.”

Mr de Brenni said he had received an overwhelmingly positive response to his letter.

He had spoken to residents and staff and seen the congestion.

“There’s no real capacity for children to walk or ride to the school because most live several kilometres away,” he said. “The only option is for parents to drive, so around drop-off and pick-up time the congestion is dangerous and time-consuming.”

Mr de Brenni was hopeful the minister and his team would work quickly and co-operatively with parents to get a good outcome.

The school was built nearly 150 years ago on a curving road on the brow of hill, limiting traffic visibility.

Parents raised safety concerns at the beginning of every year, with the P&C compiling information and government responses.

The P&C does not support parents parking opposite the school and walking across Mount Cotton Road, which Ms Skow said had been deemed unsafe for a crossing supervisor.

“There have been a number of near misses. We are concerned that it is going to take someone to get hit.”

The speed limit at Mount Cotton Road’s school zone had been reduced from 60km/h to 40km/h, but Ms Skow said a new school was the long-term solution to cater for community growth.

“There is not enough parking and infrastructure for 630 students and their families,” she said.

Ms Skow said on some days the afternoon school bus to Mount Cotton village had three children to a seat and students standing in the aisle. The morning bus arrived at school about 8am, before pupils were supervised by staff.

“People try to do the right thing by using public transport but they will stop if they don’t deem it safe.”

In response to the P&C representatives saying they had been told the traffic problems occurred at all schools, Mr de Brenni said if that was the case they should be addressed at all schools.

“I will be focusing on the schools that matter to the community I am looking to represent and Mount Cotton State School has an obvious challenge that I am looking to help them resolve.”

Councillor and LNP Springwood candidate Julie Talty said council was discussing a trial bus for parents to accompany students to school and then return to the village.

Ms Zutt said it was still a band-aid solution but was the most sensible option.

Ms Talty said Mr de Brenni had been caught out using political double speak to convince the community that he cared about the need for upgrades to Mount Cotton Road and safe school access.

“He has used his taxpayer-funded electoral allowance to campaign, making empty statements about his 'efforts' on our behalf,” she said.

“It may be within the rules, so was Bronwyn Bishop's helicopter ride, but it's unethical and the community won't stand for this kind of abuse of the system from politicians anymore.”


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