Demolish ‘eyesore’, or we will

A LONGSTANDING “eyesore” at the gateway to Traralgon South will be demolished one way or another following decisions by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and Latrobe City Council.

VCAT has ruled the unfinished building on the corner of Keith Morgan Drive and Traralgon Creek Road, once intended as a shop and service station, must be demolished by the owner by 7 December.

The community hopes the ruling will put to bed a 30-year saga of appeals and extensions since the original application for a shop in 1984.

On Monday night, Latrobe City councillors sought to reinforce the VCAT decision, voting that if the owner did not carry out the demolition order, council would.

It would then charge the property-owner for the cost of the works.

Local resident Jeff Graham said the property had become a “noted eyesore” and detracted from the Traralgon South township.

“I’ve got to give credit to the current Latrobe City personnel who are now dealing with the matter positively,” Mr Graham said.

“It’s good for them to follow through and see a resolution.”

In its April order, VCAT stated although there were various explanations as to the reasons for the delay, and “some of the reasons were and have been understandable”, the delays had extended “far beyond what is reasonable in the circumstances”.

It said the proposed development had always been considered appropriate for the site, but the owner “after all this time and after all these proceedings” had demonstrated himself to be incapable of completing the building works.

“There is little point at this stage in giving him further opportunities to himself complete the works, although, that is his first preference as to the outcome he would desire,” the VCAT report stated.

Latrobe City mayor Dale Harriman said the first step would be to allow the landowner time to demolish the property and if that failed, council would begin to demolish and “do whatever we had to, to recover those costs”.

The Express has been unsuccessful in attempts to contact the owner of the site for comment.