Shoalhaven City Council is taking action over a building it owns in the Nowra CBD which neighbouring property owners have described as a “health hazard”.

Following complaints about the Betta Electrical building in Berry Street, council’s maintenance team started work securing the building to stop pigeons from gaining access and roosting.

Local solicitor and CBD property owner David Nagle described the building as a “health hazard”, saying the property had become the home to numerous roosting pigeons, which were defecating all over the area, including the three-storey building he owns on the corner of Berry and Junction streets and Egans Lane.

Mr Nagle said pigeons were clearly getting into the building’s roof cavity, which had led to an associated rat infestation.

Council purchased the former Betta Electrical building as a viable commercial property for $1.05 million in December 2007 but the building has sat virtually vacant.

Council’s director Assets and Works Ben Stewart said talks were being held with property owners in the Nowra CBD and a team of council builders were securing the building.

“We are working to try and deter the pigeons from entering the building,” Mr Stewart said.

“We are also talking with neighbouring properties owners about the problem.”

On Monday morning council teams arrived on site, erecting scaffolding to gain access to the roof area and erected another set of scaffolding on a neighbouring property to allow work on the southern end of the building where the pigeons were gaining access to the building.

The Register understands a piece of guttering had fallen off the building, taking the fascia board with it, which provided access for the pigeons.

“We have had similar problems with wild pigeons on other buildings, such as the School of Arts, and we will be working on similar methods we used there to prevent pigeons landing or roosting on building surfaces,” Mr Stewart said.

“We will also look at other measures like installing spikes and mesh to stop roosting opportunities.”

He said council was looking into control methods for the pigeons.

“Once the work is complete we will also be looking at other pest control measures,” he said.

“Everyone is aware with pigeons comes other vermin and that is a problem not only in this city. It is a problem in other states and countries.”

He said the Betta Electrical building was one of a number of strategic properties council owned throughout the city.

“The block of land was part of the Egans Lane expression of interest process to activate the area through a proposed development in 2016,” he said.

“Council is still considering that plan and looking for alternative proposals from interested parties, with the objective to see the commercial/retail development of the site.

“Staff will be reporting back to the CBD revitalisation committee regarding the future of the site.

“Twelve months ago we opened up the thoroughfare access from Berry Street to Egans Lane based on feedback to make a user friendly, community,  passive recreation space.

“There are a number of strategic sites in the Nowra CBD council has been looking for opportunities to activate, including areas like Stewart Place and Egans Lane. Council owned properties are critical to any future proposals.”

He said council’s carpentry staff had recently been focused on community assets, such as public toilets, halls and libraries.

“In the recent one year rate increase, $200,000 will go towards the maintenance of buildings,” he said.

“Council manages more than 1400 buildings and structures ranging from gazebos to the Betta Electrical building and through to the entertainment centre.”


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