Childers di­vided

Loss of school ag land has split the com­mu­nity with grow­ers fear­ing for fu­ture of agri­cul­ture ed­u­ca­tion

Isis Town and Country - - Front Page - By JIM ALOUAT

A LO­CAL Childers grower says a Bund­aberg Re­gional Coun­cil de­ci­sion to lease land which Isis Dis­trict State High School uses for its agri­cul­ture ed­u­ca­tion is “shock­ing”.

Childers and Dis­trict Fruit and Veg­etable Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion sec­re­tary Donna Dun­can OAM said she was up­set when the de­ci­sion was handed down last week to al­low the Childers Men’s Shed to con­struct a shed and car park at the land at North St.

Ms Dun­can said the as­so­ci­a­tion had in­vested about $100,000 to sup­port the ag pro­gram at the school for the past decade, and the loss of land would de­liver a dev­as­tat­ing blow to the school

“I'm flab­ber­gasted,” she said.

“I can’t un­der­stand how kids are less im­por­tant than a Men’s Shed.

“From our as­so­ci­a­tion's point of view, our mem­bers will still of­fer our farms and in-kind sup­port. We will fight this.”

The com­ments come as some com­mu­nity mem­bers ral­lied around the school, plac­ing draw­ings of sheep on the fence at 3A North St.

Ms Dun­can said the ram­i­fi­ca­tions were wide­spread be­cause the re­gion re­lied heav­ily on agri­cul­ture.

“Not only do we sup­port the high school, but all of the schools that feed into the high school such as Howard, Biggenden, Booyal, Cordalba, St Joseph’s, the lo­cal pri­mary school and Good­wood,” she said.

“That’s to set them up with agri­cul­ture ex­pe­ri­ence so when they get to the high school they have got their hands in the red soil.”

Ms Dun­can said the an­i­mals housed on the block pro­vided ther­a­peu­tic ben­e­fits for stu­dents.

“There are kids with spe­cial needs that work with the an­i­mals,” she said.

“These an­i­mals do a lot of pas­toral care and I know the kindy chil­dren go there.”

Ms Dun­can said she was con­cerned for the agri­cul­tural ed­u­ca­tion of chil­dren, with the pro­gram equip­ping stu­dents with skills to forge ca­reers in the agri­cul­ture in­dus­try.

“We give a bur­sary to a stu­dent ev­ery year to fur­ther their agri­cul­tural and hor­ti­cul­tural ed­u­ca­tion,” she said.

“This is an agri­cul­ture town and if farm­ing hurts, ev­ery­one hurts.”

PHOTO: JIM ALOUAT

BIG LOSS: Lo­cal grower Donna Dun­can is dev­as­tated the agri­cul­ture pro­gram at Isis Dis­trict State High School may have to be down­sized.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

RIGHT: Mem­bers of the com­mu­nity have placed draw­ings of sheep on the fence at 3A North St.

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