ARCHIVE ANARCHY: Important rates records are among council documents which have become snack and hidey holes for vermin.
ARCHIVE ANARCHY: Important rates records are among council documents which have become snack and hidey holes for vermin. Contributed

Rats defecate on our history

IMPORTANT council documents have become toilets for rats and pigeons after being left to rot in various storage spaces across the Rose City - and it could cost hundreds of thousands of dollar to construct a facility to house them.

A report tabled at yesterday's corporate services meeting showed photos of a range of documents in various stages of decay at a number of different locations.

Corporate Services director Andrew Ireland said a substantial amount of the paper work could probably be thrown out, some documents would be shipped of to the state archives and some would be required to be kept by council.

Stacks of boxes balanced precariously on the floor underneath Town Hall, while a snake had been known to visit the Willi St Depot general office. The Willi St Depot shed was in the worst shape of all.

A report by information services manager Graham Cray showed the extent of the damage to important documents.

"Previously a home for pigeons until basic proofing was installed approximately six years ago. Records are in very poor condition," the report stated.

"Some have been identified as rates records which must be kept forever.

"Records have been partially eaten and a lot of vermin faeces is on them requiring appropriate WH&S precautions when handling."

Mr Ireland said council had plans to start on the work and were being proactive.

Cr Neil Meiklejohn said the destruction was a long running issue.

"This goes back probably six years now when we were starting to think about completing this facility," he said.

"And I think those figures were around half a million dollars so you expect it to be more now."

He said some of the records dated back about 20 years to the Rosenthal and Glengallan council days, and it sometimes caused problems when those records were required.

"If we can get those done, the worst of the worse is (at the Willi St shed)," he said.

"Then you can be proactive and go about handling the ones after the real messes are fixed."A council spokeswoman said while it was unlikely, it was possible council could have penalties imposed on them by State Archives.

"If records are not managed in the time frame which they are supposed to be managed," she said.

The report said record management would occur in three stages taking some years. A full review of operations and services conducted by Mr Cray is due to take place in May.


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