Shoalhaven City Council has been called on to clean up one of its properties in the Nowra CBD which has been described as “a health hazard”.
Council purchased the former Betta Electrical building (16 Berry Street) as a viable commercial property for $1.05 million in December 2007.
Although it is part of the council’s strategic plan, since then the building has sat vacant.
Local solicitor and CBD property owner David Nagle said the property has become the home to numerous roosting pigeons, which are defecating all over the area, including the three-storey building he owns on the corner of Berry and Junction streets and Egans Lane.
“It is clear the building isn’t sealed properly,” he said.
“The pigeons are clearly getting into the roof cavity. Apparently there is a large build-up of pigeon excrement in there, which has led to an associated rat infestation.
“We have requested eradication but council has failed to do it.
“This is the same building Mayor Amanda Findley wanted to put up as a possible homeless shelter.
“There has been an increase in the pigeon population in the area. They come over and roost on the window sills and louvers on our building, defecating everywhere.”
A contract cleaning company started cleaning Mr Nagle’s building on Monday, and the evidence of the pigeons’ presence was clear to see with large tracts of droppings on the roof.
“We understand the Betta Electrical building also has asbestos issues,” Mr Nagle said.
“If the pigeons are in the roof and upstairs area of that building, disturbing that material and then flying outside, there is a real concern they may be spreading asbestos fibres as well.
“It is likely the pigeons can transfer asbestos fibres. It has become a health hazard.
“It is a serious OH&S breach.”
He said guttering had also fallen off council’s building causing water damage to an adjoining property.
Mr Nagle is also aware of an adjoining landowner who complained to council over a number of months without action.
“We have a number of concerns,” he said.
“The transfer of diseases, the attraction of vermin and in particular rats, unpleasant odours and noise issues, damage to buildings due to the highly corrosive nature of pigeon droppings and extensive damage to air conditioning units and machinery.
The pigeons are clearly getting into the roof cavity. Apparently there is a large build-up of pigeon excrement in there, which has led to an associated rat infestation. This is the same building Mayor Amanda Findley wanted to put up as a possible homeless shelter.
“It has been council’s repeated failure to maintain its building over a significant period of time which has brought about these issues.
“We have a duty as far as the health of our tenants are concerned.”
He said one of the tenants in his building had repeatedly seen pigeons roosting in council’s building and flying onto and resting on his building.
Mr Nagle said further steps to protect his building were being taken, including the cleaning and painting of damaged areas and installing further bird spikes to prevent nesting.
“How can council justify buying this property for over $1 million a decade ago and then just have it sit there?” he asked.
“How can you just leave a building to sit there?
“It is understood a number of businesses over the years have been interested to move into the location and pay rent.
How can council justify buying this property for over $1 million a decade ago and then just have it sit there?
“Sure, have a master plan in place, but activate it.”
He said council had failed in its trusteeship.
“We would like to see council fix the building and look after the ratepayers of the Shoalhaven,” he said.