‘Eyesore’ frustration

Heidi Kraak

The Traralgon Community Development Association is calling on authorities to take action against owners of derelict properties in Traralgon.

TCDA spokeswoman Axella Johannesson said it was “not fair” owners of dilapidated properties in Traralgon were “getting away with giving a black eye to the whole town”.

Ms Johannesson listed the DRS Motors building along the Princes Highway in Traralgon, the former Salvation Army church and a former motel at the east end of Traralgon as properties that required immediate attention.

“It [the DRS Motors service station building] has probably been empty for more than 20 years,” Ms Johannesson said.

Safety concerns such as fire risk and the impact the dilapidated properties have on the aesthetic of the town, Ms Johannesson said, were the TCDA’s main concerns.

“People come to us and complain about the aesthetic aspect. When you are first driving into town, you come here and you see this and it is not a very welcoming sight,” she said.

“It’s simply unacceptable that both ends of town have eyesores to greet visitors. We hope that action will be taken to rectify the situation.”

A Latrobe City Council spokesman said council was aware of the conditions at the Princes Highway service station property and had labelled it a derelict/dilapidated building which attracts higher rates.

“The rates instrument is designed to exert pressure via increased rates for landowners who fail to meet the community’s expectations,” the spokesman said.

Under local laws introduced in 2017/18, owners of derelict or dilapidated buildings must pay rate differentials due to the impact the buildings have on the town.

The spokesman said that once a building was classified as derelict or dilapidated, the owner was then required to fence and board the building up and cover graffiti.

“We try to bring about responsible management through the limited control available to us via various pieces of state legislation… but ultimately the impetus to act responsibly and respectfully towards our community rests with individual landowners.”