KURIM shops owner Eid Eid has vowed to take legal action against Orange City Council if they issue a demolition order on the dilapidated shopping centre.
The community had raised concerns about used needles found at the centre and a nearby a bus stop used each morning by school children, Cr Jason Hamling told Tuesday’s council meeting.
“My major problem is how long is this going to go on?” he said.
“How long are we going to have a building there that’s a fire risk?”
All councillors agreed to mayor John Davis’s suggestion for council staff to inspect the site and come back to the council with options to fix the site, which could see the council force Mr Eid to demolish the building.
Kurim Avenue resident Jade Eberhard said she would love to see the centre brought back to life as a shopping centre or community centre.
“My partner’s mother has lived up the street for over 20 years and everything was opened the barber shop, groceries shop everything,” she said.
“Since we’ve been here you see people who get in the roof ... it’s kind of dangerous.
“As long as they keep the security tight I don’t know why they can’t keep the security bars there at night and open during the day.”
Mr Eid said he had plans for the building but would not elaborate on what it would involve.
Cr Kevin Duffy said the bus stop was used by hundreds of children and something had to be done immediately to make the building safer.
But Mr Eid said he had already secured the building and the area needed better policing to stop vandalism.
“If kids demolish stuff and break and enter what can I do?” he said.
“Council has got to clean up the area ... it’s their duty to clean up the streets.”
But Cr Glenn Taylor said the shops were not the council’s responsibility and not ratepayers’ problem.
“If someone’s been complaining to us about needles that’s fine, but I’d be reluctant for us to go in and say we’re going to allocate ratepayer funds to buy the shopping centre,” he said.
“There has been major concerns that children enter the building from the roof and light fires inside.”
Council general manager Garry Styles said issuing a demolition order was not a “straight-up process”.
Council spokesman Nick Redmond said the criteria for a demolition order had to prove the building was unsafe for the public.
Mr Eid said demolishing the building would not solve any of the problems.
Earlier this year he gave permission for the State Emergency Service (SES) to use the building for training.
Orange SES deputy controller Rob Hines said SES volunteers moved tiles from the back of the building to patch holes in the front to learn how to work with tiled roofs.
“The end benefit to [Mr Eid] was that it stopped water going in,” he said.