A CONDITION audit of council-owned buildings should be provided ahead of the 2014-15 budget, councillor Samantha McIntosh says.
At last night’s ordinary meeting, Cr McIntosh said the council desperately needed to work out how it could “do better” to ensure council buildings were maintained to meet acceptable standards.
It came as councillors approved the demolition of the former Scallywag Dog Training Centre in Latrobe Street.
The dilapidated council-managed building was damaged in a suspicious fire in July and will be demolished at a cost of about $10,000.
Last month Animal Aid backed out of the deal to run the Ballarat Pound due to occupational health and safety issues at the site, including no emergency fire exit and inadequate large animal accommodation.
Cr McIntosh said the animal shelter, along with buildings at the showgrounds and airport, were recent examples where council assets had become liabilities through neglect.
“There is such a demand that current funding is only meeting to the status quo and in some cases not even this,” she said.
Cr McIntosh said as part of next year’s budget process, the council should be provided with an estimated cost and timeline for any urgent works for buildings to meet all safety standards, as well as required works for buildings to meet an acceptable standard.
“It will enable council to make a more informed decision... so funding priorities are made with all information,” she said.
“We desperately need to work out how we can do better than we have been doing.”
In July, the council awarded the contract for its animal shelter and pound services to Victorian Animal Aid Trust for three years, ending the RSPCA’s 45-year history with the facility.
The RSPCA’s tender for the job was ‘non-compliant’ because the animal welfare charity declined to take on the responsibility and costs for upgrading the ageing council-owned building.
Animal Aid board chair Fran Bailey said their tender was always conditional on the facility meeting the Department of Environment and Primary Industries Code of Practice for Pounds and Shelters.
In August, a whole roof was ripped off one of the Ballarat Showgrounds’ sheds and flung into powerlines before hitting a car in wild winds last week.
Earlier, the council voted to give up on the historic St Columba’s Hall and make its remains available to the public.
The hall, severely damaged by several storm events, sat neglected and collapsed at the council’s Ring Road depot.