Hepburn Shire Council faces a potential public health crisis in its failure to address a sizeable black mould outbreak on the ceiling of the supper room of Trentham Mechanics Institute.
A local resident, who for 15 years provided specialist cleaning services and advice to the State Library, is unequivocal: black mould can pose a serious threat to health; those with asthma and other respiratory diseases, and younger or older people are particularly vulnerable. He insists that this advice was conveyed to the then mayor, our local councillor and the chief executive officer at consultations held in Trentham in February 2016.
Responsible bodies take one of two steps. The first: an analysis of air quality is costly, and does not solve the problem. A more satisfactory solution is to deal with the actual cause. This needs to be done by specialists, with protective equipment similar to that used for asbestos removal.
Council has taken Trentham off its list of venues for council meetings. Officially, there is 'no fit-for-purpose building in Trentham'. Is this code for 'the health risk to our councillors and employees is unacceptable, but it is okay for the Trentham community'?
Trentham Life Activities has transferred most of its activities to the Uniting Church Hall and quite a number of individuals of my acquaintance will not go near the hall in its current state.
My concern is the threat posed to activities such as the Friday night dances, Trentham Table Tennis and the Trentham Play Group.
In April, the Trentham Easter Art and Craft Show and the Growers, Cookers and Eaters Food Hub Dinner, involving large numbers of participants, take place. The matter needs to be resolved well before these events.
In ignoring its duty of care, Hepburn is exposing itself to the threat of litigation.