The Waltons building, on Wickham Street in the Valley, is looking tired. Photo: Tony Moore
New local laws passed by council last night are set to stamp out Fortitude Valley's grungy image once and for all, with building owners now facing serious consequences should their property fall into disrepair.
In introducing the amendment to the local law, which was approved by the Local Government Minister David Crisafulli in August this year, Lord Mayor Graham Quirk warned “recalcitrant” building owners would soon pay the price for their shabby properties.
The state government's approval came ahead of schedule.
The area in Fortitude Valley where new laws give council the power to force owners to clean up buildings.
Raising the example of the Walton's building, which was at the centre of a neighbourhood skirmish over cleanliness earlier this year, Cr Quirk expressed satisfaction at now having the “teeth” to bite down on offenders.
“There have been issues with the Valley in the past, well recorded issues,” Cr Quirk said.
“This will give us the additional teeth we need to make the Valley the best it can be.”
Opposition leader Milton Dick endorsed the amendment on behalf of his Labor colleagues.
“All of us are in agreement that we need to do all we can to improve health and safety,” Cr Dick said.
“[Especially in] one of the most important areas in the city which is, of course, the Valley.”
The laws stand as amendments to the Health Safety and Amenity Amending Local Law and the Health Safety and Amenity Subordinate Local Law 2012.
It places a duty on owners of buildings in designated areas to maintain the appearances of the buildings to a standard which does not detract from the appearance of other buildings in an area of Fortitude Valley as outlined by council.
According to the law, a building owner may be considered in breach of their duty if their property is found to be in a dirty condition, in a state of disrepair, in need of repainting or otherwise in a dilapidated condition.
In such cases, council may serve a show-cause notice to the building owner, asking for an explanation as to why they haven't complied with the law to be issued within 10 days.
The council is obliged to consider any submissions made by the owner, and advise the owner if further action will be taken.
Such action could include council undertaking the maintenance work required, and seeking compensation from the owner subsequent to completion in relation to the upgrades carried out and the costs associated with the law enforcement.
The law will also apply to council owned buildings.