Council crack down

OWNERS of derelict properties in the Latrobe Valley will be forced to clean-up their act as Latrobe City Council knuckles down on unsightly properties.

Councillors voted last week to investigate altering local laws regarding unsightly land, to ensure more stringent regulations governed dangerous and dilapidated properties as well as pushing the Municipal Association of Victoria for statewide support.

“I want us to have the power to actually enforce people to do the right thing,” Latrobe City Deputy Mayor Sharon Gibson said. The review will investigate the most appropriate method of managing unsightly and dangerous properties and will be in consultation with community, in a bid to crackdown on the growing number of rundown properties.

After years of complaints, the issue reignited in January with residents fearing asbestos risks at the former Presentation Campus, Moe.

Following inspections of the Wirraway Street site earlier this year, Latrobe City Council environmental health officers discovered piles of rubbish, including asbestos material, however council maintained this did not pose a “nuisance” and did not violate the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008.

At the recent council meeting, Cr Graeme Middlemiss argued council had authority for “extreme cases” but the report would highlight community “standards” which should be enforced across the Valley.

“We have some control over the extreme cases but it will be interesting to see what the community wants to make of the standards,” he said.

Latrobe City councillor Dale Harriman said dilapidated sites could deter investors from the region.

The review of Local Law Number Two governing unsightly land, is underway and is expected to be presented to council by 31 December 2013.