Council votes to keep depot razor wire.
Council votes to keep depot razor wire.

Mayor votes four times to keep razor wire fence near school

CLARENCE Valley Mayor Jim Simmons used his casting vote twice to ensure his council fights to keep a razor wire fence between its super depot and a high school.

In debate at Tuesday's meeting that took a feisty turn, councillors turned down two options to resolve a complaint from NSW Education and the council over the razor wire on the fence between South Grafton High School and the council's Rushforth Rd depot.

This year the department delivered council a notice, referencing the Dividing Fences Act (1991), saying council must remove the razor wire at its cost.

If not, NSW Education could commence proceedings in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Cr Greg Clancy moved to remove the razor wire between the depot and the school and install CCTV cameras and motion sensing lights, funding the work from council's light fleet reserve, ignoring a staff proposal for a new razor wire fence parallel to the boundary with the school for $34,818.

Cr Clancy said the razor wire on the school fence was "over the top", but he could live with the need to protect council assets and staff.

"But the proposal to spend $34,818 on a fence inside a fence, I can't support," he said.

This was not enough for Cr Andrew Baker, who said this did not offer council staff enough immediate protection

He put up a foreshadowed motion that council take on the department at a tribunal hearing as the "lowest cost option"

In the absence of Cr Jason Kingsley, the vote on Cr Clancy's motion was split 4-4, forcing Cr Simmons to use his casting vote to defeat the motion.

The debate became more shrill once Cr Baker's motion hit the floor.

Crs Karen Toms, Peter Ellem and Clancy described Cr Baker's approach "combative" "arrogant" and making council "a bad neighbour".

But Cr Arthur Lysaught and Cr Baker argued there was no ill-will in the approach, which provided a chance to negotiate both positions in good faith.

"If we do it by negotiation we've said to the other party we've got issues we can't resolve but the tribunal can," Cr Baker said.

The vote was again locked at 4-all, with Cr Simmons's casting vote the decider.