Various school boards were invited to a meeting with the fire service earlier this month to voice their reasons for opposing the project.
School principal Gaylyn Lockington says the meeting was very emotional and as a school community, they strongly objected to the project. She says a fire station would diminish the appearance and feel of the school as a place of choice for parents to send their children.
Another concern for teachers is the potential for disruption and the issues with the safety of children playing in the area.
Lockington says fire stations are not quiet places and for anyone to suggest that no disruptions to the school will occur is ignorant of the nature of fire stations and the way they operate.
Additionally, teachers say to use up an area of the school which could be used for future development and build a fire station instead, suggests that Titikaveka College’s future has already been condemned.
Lockington says they were first notified of a proposal for the station last month, and after expressing their concerns, were told that the project would go ahead anyway.
She says the meeting was a step forward for the college, which was originally concerned at the lack of consultation.
Lockington says the school will be challenging this project all the way.
“We understand the need for a fire station, but for health and safety reasons, we don’t want it to be built on our grounds.”
The school is also looking into the legal issues surrounding their land, saying the grounds were gifted for educational purposes only.
However, the fire service say a section of the land had been audited and was able to be used for community purposes.
The school is checking the validity of this statement, and checking exactly which part of their grounds is available for the community. The meeting was also a chance for the fire service to explain the reasons behind the fire station proposal.
They said the school grounds were the only viable location as they were the only government-owned land available in the area.
A fire service spokesman said there had been issues with landowners in Titikaveka who were not willing to give up their land for the fire station.
The same issues had arisen at the Cook Islands Christian Church site, which was also apparently unwilling to allow their land to be used.
A recent survey of the students showed that more than 80 per cent of them did not like the idea of a fire station being built on “their” space.
Reasons for their disapproval included personal safety, disruptions to the environment, taking away one of their outdoor seating spots and the project meaning that trees would have to be cut down.