Financial pressure relating to a new Catholic school in Christchurch has eased, after Christchurch city councillors waived a development fee of $150,617. 

According to a CathNews report, city council staff had in fact recommended that the Church’s
application  for a remission of the fee be declined.

St Paul’s School on Gayhurst Rd in Dallington was red-zoned after the earthquakes and subsequently sold to the Crown.

The diocese decided to merge the school with Our Lady of Fatima in Edgeware, creating a new primary school on Our Lady of Fatima’s Innes Rd site.

The former St Paul’s School in Gayhurst Rd and Our Lady of Fatima School are between five and six kilometres apart.

Two new classroom blocks were built at the latter school and the Church was charged a $150,617 fee, under the city council’s development contributions policy, to cover the cost of additional demand on the infrastructure network.

The policy states that district health boards and charter or state-integrated schools could not
be defined as the Crown.

But the bishop’s solicitor asked the council to make a discretionary exception.

The policy allows the council to make exceptions for “unique and compelling circumstances”.

A report from council staff stated that although no other schools in Christchurch could “claim a precedent”, if a remission was granted other redzoned property owners could take the same approach and make a remission application in relation to their new sites.

The circumstances outlined by the bishop’s office failed to provide compelling enough reasons for the fee to be waived, it said.

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