ORANGE City Council is not a public benevolent institution and should go nowhere near the Kurim shopping centre.
That’s the view of councillors Kevin Duffy and Ron Gander.
Last week the centre’s owner Eddy Eid revealed a proposal to convert the troubled Kurim Avenue building into a multimillion-dollar childcare and community centre, just days after Cr Neil Jones suggested purchasing the shops may be the council’s only option to make the area safe for the public.
Cr Duffy said he had no problem with the council negotiating with Mr Eid and did not rule out a partnership, but said buying the building was not an option.
“If someone has a business proposal they can always come to council,” he said.
“The door is always open for any ratepayer or business person ... but just because [the shops] have gone bad for whatever reason we don’t buy every business that fails.”
Last week, Mr Eid said the community should pay to fix the building because they were the ones that caused the damage.
Cr Duffy rejected the suggestion.
“It’s not council’s responsibility to protect it and put up barriers,” he said.
Cr Gander agreed and said it was not the council’s job to stop vandalism or fix the centre.
“If something happens in my backyard here council aren’t responsible for that,” he said.
“I think the owner has to make a decision and discuss it with people instead of trying to make it someone else’s problem.”
Cr Gander said several ratepayers had contacted him, concerned the council would consider the purchase of the dilapidated shopping centre.
“I’m ruling it out, from my point of view,” he said.
Cr Gander would not say if he felt Mr Eid’s childcare centre proposal was viable but said the nearby Cootes Access Centre and the Community Technology Centre (CTC) at Bowen had been plagued with “major issues”.
He felt a joint effort with Housing NSW was the only answer.
Cr Duffy said there were several other disused buildings and sites around Orange and, likewise, the council should not become involved.
The shopping centre was cleaned up last weekend thanks to workers paid for by Mr Eid and skip bins donated by the council.