State department and council butt heads over pigeon problem
TWO levels of government have been at loggerheads over leasing arrangements and pigeons.
Lockyer Valley Regional Council has been involved in "lengthy negotiations” with Biosecurity Queensland over the leasing and usage of the former Laidley Depot site
Biosecurity Qld uses the site as a base for storing vehicles and mustering of crews involved in the delivery of the fire ant treatment program in the area.
Lease negotiations became protracted when Biosecurity Qld began requesting increased access and for improvements to be made to the facilities.
One of the request included pigeon proofing a shed on site, but officers determined this would be a waste of money.
The council's Solicitor and Legal Services Coordinator Caitlan Natalier had received a quote for netting to prevent pigeon access to the roof, but concluded it was too costly.
"It's the view of officers that it's not worthwhile going the extra of putting the netting in place because Biosecurity leave the roller doors open all day,” Ms Natalier said.
Deputy Mayor Jason Cook agreed.
"I would be hesitant to spending $29,500 on pigeons,” Cr Cook said.
Biosecurity Qld were initially granted tenure to use the site on a shared, "as is, where is” basis with the council continuing to use the majority of the depot site.
However, the department began expanding it's usage of the site and entered into negotiations for a new lease.
In February, Biosecurity Qld offered the council a lease agreement, which asked to allow a more intense and exclusive use of the depot and for the council to undertake site preparation works at "significant” cost.
A report tabled at the council meeting today noted the lease offer was not "proportionate” to the increased land use area and impact on the council resources.
A further offer to lease was received by the council in March which Ms Natalier said failed to acknowledge use was originally granted to Biosecurity Qld on an "as is, where is” basis.
"Basically, they wanted us to initially bring the building up to compliance, and pigeon proof it so to speak,” Ms Natalier said.
Following further meetings with state officials, the outstanding issues have since been resolved.
Ms Natalier said the council had agreed to complete some works, but the state had agreed to accept more of the risk, particularly in relation to the building's suitability and fitness for purpose.
"We don't intend to bring it up to compliance because that would involve quite a lot of cost, and that was not the basis on which they accepted it,” she said.
"We have agreed to do some works to fix some of the holes and broken windows in the main shed to stop pigeons getting into the building.”
The parties have proposed to a four year lease at $50,000 plus GST a year, with the rent increasing 2 per cent per annum.