PURCHASING the Kurim Avenue shopping centre could be the only option for Orange City Council to tackle the Glenroi eyesore, according to councillor Neil Jones.
Police identified the unsafe and dilapidated building as a problem that needed urgent attention, in a recently-released community safety audit.
The council has battled for years to force the owner to do something about the deteriorating shops, but had to back down on calls to order the building’s demolition last year when it was found to be too difficult to legally defend.
Cr Jones said it was time for the council to take a fresh look at Glenroi considering all options for the shops’ future, provide more services for the suburb’s youth including a skate park and find a solution for the lane way near the hockey fields.
“As the [shops’] owner has not come up with any development plans it continues to be a site of ongoing safety issues,” he said.
“The transfer of ownership is something that should be considered.”
Cr Jones said if the council was to look at purchasing the shops it could be done in partnership with another organisation or tier of government.
“There’s plenty of parkland nearby, but it could be used for housing or any number of things could be considered,” he said.
A childcare centre or community facility for the site could be another option.
The Kurim Avenue shops had one business open when the 2007 community safety audit was done.
Since then it has become more dilapidated and is considered unsafe, according to the most recent audit, with the partial fencing doing little to stop youths playing or taking drugs in the abandoned building.
“The Kurim shopping centre [is] indicative of poor community cohesion and seemingly an apparent lack of concern by the owner/s of the property for community safety,” the audit said.
Cr Glenn Taylor agreed tackling the shops should be a priority of the council.
“You could get kids in there trapped or lighting fires,” he said.
“It brings down the whole neighbourhood.”
Canobolas Local Area Command Superintendent David Driver said the shops were an eyesore, but remained a matter for the council.
Council development services director David Waddell said staff had met with the owner of the “troublesome property” as recently as last week.
“We continue to meet with the owner to try and fix the safety situation,” he said.
“We inspect the place, but it’s privately owned so we’re limited in what we can do.”
Cr Jones said some councillors were pushing for an upgrade of Wade Park, but the plans should be put aside while Orange was facing bigger social issues.
The owner of the Kurim shops could not be reached for comment.