School spend snubs Valley

IT HAS been praised as "the biggest NSW Government investment in education infrastructure in history” however, the Clarence Valley won't see a single cent of this $4.2 billion school spend despite the need for a new school, according to the New High School for Lower Clarence collective.

With Maclean High School's flying fox colony at the helm of this issue, Greens councillor Greg Clancy said school improvements such as covered walkways, pruning trees and air conditioning won't solve the problem in the long term and the more economical solution is to simply build a new school.

"Spending money to try and remove the bats gives people a false sense of hope as it's only a short-term solution,” he said.

"You can move them temporarily, but they always come back, so it makes sense to put money toward a new school.”

Sydney Botanical Gardens, for instance, spent more than $2 million to disperse their flying fox colony over three years using several approaches including playing heavy metal music.

Despite these efforts, it was a fruitless outcome with the animals spreading into urban areas after the removal of roost sites.

Similar results happened in 1999 when the Maclean flying fox colony was dispersed and temporarily relocated to Yamba, Iluka and Maclean gully.

Once the campaign ended, however, the bats returned.

"Given what happened back then, it's blatantly obvious that we should just move the school,” Cr Clancy said.

The only problem is knowing where to get these funds to build a new school given the school infrastructure snub.

New High School for Lower Clarence collective member Karen von Ahlefeldt said it was now up to the community to ensure the Lower Clarence Valley receive funds rather than waiting for the NSW Government to realise there is a problem.

"Nothing has been earmarked for this area despite people saying they have wanted a new school for decades,” she said.

"We will be lobbying MP Chris Gulaptis and the MPs of Education, Planning and Environment to gain support for the proposal.”

To be involved, contact Karen on 6645 4053 or relocatemacleanhighschool