News

Empty land with dumped syringes cleared

By Liz Mellino

A vacant block of land that posed a risk to public health and safety in Shepparton was cleared on the weekend.

The privately owned block, directly opposite ACE College in Shepparton, housed dozens of dumped syringes along with piles of rubbish, human faeces, burned furniture and blankets and items of clothing belonging to squatters.

The News visited the site last week and published a story on Thursday after a member of the public reportedly stood on a syringe at the site this month.

ACE College social worker Joel Hoffman voiced his concerns to The News about the vacant land at 131 Rowe St and 300 High St, after watching people walk through the site on a daily basis.

‘‘I see people walking through there all day every day, it’s a public health concern and a public health risk,’’ Mr Hoffman said.

‘‘At the moment there is no fencing, no signage — it’s all open, there’s nothing there to give an indication that you shouldn’t go there.’’

Mr Hoffman spent the next two weeks in contact with Greater Shepparton City Council to follow up what could be done to contact the owners and have the area cleared.

The council said in a statement yesterday the land had been cleared on the weekend to comply with the Local Law No.1 Community Living 2018, 2.1 Unsightly or Dangerous Land.

‘‘The land was cleared on the weekend. Rubbish and other items were removed from the land to ensure compliance with the local law,’’ the statement said.

The law states that a person who owns or occupies property must not allow or permit the property to be kept in a manner that is unsightly or detrimental to the general amenity of the neighbourhood, is out of character with other allotments in the vicinity, or is dangerous or likely to cause danger to life or property.

Along with the block being cleared, a temporary fence was installed to stop the community accessing the site.