Warrington School/Educational projects/Crazy Ideas
Taieri Gorge Rail Coastal Schools Transport Solution
All schools in the East Otago Cluster are presently facing the issues around transporting our children to and from events with each school engaging parent drivers or hiring individual bus contractors. This could be could be minimised if we used the Taieri Railway. I also imagine the fantastic opportunity for students and teachers to travel via rail, these would certainly be trips that would be remembered.
The East Otago Schools Cluster of Purakanui, Waitati, Warrington, Karitane, Waikouaiti, Flag Swamp, Palmerston and Macraes Moonlight combine for various sporting and cultural events about once a term. This would be a total of about 350 pupils.
This year's events involving all schools are:
Term one is swimming sports at Palmerston 9.30 – 2.15
Term two Kaupapa Maori Festival at Palmerston 9.30 – 1.30
Term two indoor sports at the Edgar Centre
Term three Wear-It-As-Art at Palmerston 10-12.30
Term three cross country at Waikouaiti 12-2.15
Term four athletics at Palmerston 9.30 – 2.15
Other events such as the Wawa challenge (beach Triathlon) held at Warrington could be changed to involve all the schools.
Bad weather contingency days would need to be built into the events calendar.
As well as these events we also have camps being held at Waianakarua, Sutton and Quarantine Island that all have rail to a close proximity.
We could restructure sports to be at other venues along the railway such as Warrington or Waitati which could allow schools to all have a turn at being transported via train, rather than most events being at Palmerston.
The train could be used to transport the whole cluster into Dunedin city for cultural days using the city facilities – Museum, Settlers Museum, Art Gallery, Library and Chinese Garden.
Funding to come from individual schools, The Dunedin City Council (for the city day) and possibly community trusts that would be more responsive to supporting a group of schools and the Taieri rail than individual requests.
Issues would be timetabling for the rail, health and safety, funding and getting schools to use rail transport and walking rather than bus or car to door scenarios that we presently expect.
Publicity for the schools, Taieri Gorge and the Dunedin City Council for such forward thinking to assist in solving transport issues. The redevelopment of the infrastructure within the Dunedin city region to accommodate rail transport. This could be established as a nationwide model – the ideas could then be rolled out to other communities that sit along the rail network such as the schools south to Mosgiel or Port Chalmers.