REFURB: The recently restored Lawrence Police residence. Photos: JOJO NEWBY
REFURB: The recently restored Lawrence Police residence. Photos: JOJO NEWBY

Family house with a lock-up

ABANDONED at the end of 2009 due to its dilapidated and mouldy state – the Lawrence police residence has received a major makeover and Grafton police are looking for a new live-in cop for the riverside hamlet.

It is a similar story for the Copmanhurst police residence which reportedly has also been repaired after years of neglect.

The Daily Examiner ran a series of stories in 2009 regarding the residence and how the police officer living there, Peter Barnier, his wife and children had become chronically ill from the mould.

The family had left the house weeks earlier, leaving Senior Constable Barnier at the home before he too developed respiratory problems after a virtual clean bill of health in the previous 10 years.

In the end the family bailed out of Lawrence and bought a house in Grafton after Police Properties stated that it had no intention of rectifying the problem.

Speaking at the site recently, Grafton police Inspector Murray Gillett said the command was eager to find officers for both Lawrence and Maclean.

A quick inspection of the Lawrence residence showed no evidence of the mould previously dominating many walls, the kitchen had been gutted and the outside repainted.

Flooring remained unfinished and the kitchen remained a shell.

Though the renovations were not complete, Insp Gillett said it was 90% there and would be completed within weeks.

The most remarkable thing about the residence though is the stunning 180-degree views of the Clarence River.

“This would really be ideal for an officer with a family – this officer would become part of the Lower River sector of the command and would work with Maclean, Yamba, Iluka and Brooms Head police during their shift with an after hours responsibility here,” Insp Gillett said.

He said the main financial benefit for an officer living at a lock-up is the cheap rental of the residence – 3% of the wage.

Though it was presumed the leaking roof had been repaired, this could not be confirmed by police media yesterday nor could the cost of either project.

Lawrence Post Office operator Karen Brennan said the community was pleased to see work being done on the station and policing was quite a common topic of conversation for residents.

The community would be relieved to see a policeman take up the post.



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