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The razor wire on top of the fence that separates Clarence Valley Council’s new depot and South Grafton High School has been a contentious issue. Image Geoff Helisma

Razor wire to stay

Geoff Helisma|

The completion of the razor wire capped fence that surrounds Clarence Valley Council’s Tyson Street depot at South Grafton came as a surprise to South Grafton High School staff returning from the their 2017/18 Christmas vacation.

Part of the fence is located on the boundary between the depot and the school.

Subsequently, the Department of Education and Training (DET) issued a statement in February 2018: “On returning to school after the holiday, staff noticed razor wire possibly encroaching on the top of the school’s security fence for a short section where the school’s Agriculture plot borders the Council depot.

“The Education Department and Council are consulting to ensure any fencing is appropriate to the boundary.”

The razor wire was a surprise because the publically exhibited development application (DA) did not specify how the fence would be treated for security purposes, apart from nominating its height, 2.4 metres.

However, at last week’s September 24 council meeting, councillors unanimously scrapped a proposal to “remove [the] razor wire on [the] adjoining fence … and erect new security fencing parallel to existing”.

Councillor Karen Toms had successfully argued to defer the $37,400 fund variation at the August CVC meeting “in order to permit a site inspection prior to the [September CVC] meeting”.

At the August meeting, Cr Toms said: “This is a lot of money; we’re trying to be frugal and in my opinion … it is ridiculous to build another fence.”

There was no debate at the September meeting.

Meanwhile, the DET responded to the Independent’s enquiry in an emailed statement: “The safety and wellbeing of students are the Department of Education’s paramount concerns.

“There is a partition between the school playground and the razor wire fence to minimise student access.

“The department has yet to be advised of the council’s position [and] will continue to work with the council to find a solution.”