From the Mayor's Desk: Time for a at least a clean-up of vacant building in Dubbo's main street

There has been a lot of positive sentiment across the Dubbo region lately and there is genuine feeling that the future is bright.

EYESORE: Dubbo Regional Council mayor Ben Shields at the old Telstra building in the main street of Dubbo.

EYESORE: Dubbo Regional Council mayor Ben Shields at the old Telstra building in the main street of Dubbo.

The announcement of an extra four billion dollars from Snowy Hydro will certainly supercharge grant funding into regional NSW and I couldn’t be more proud of my fellow Dubbo citizens for getting behind our push to bring the new Qantas Pilot Academy to Dubbo.

However, just for a moment, allow me to put the cranky-old-mayor hat on.

Dubbo residents would be well aware of on-going exchanges about the clock tower building in Macquarie Street.

It has been owned by Telstra for generations and since them leaving the site a few years ago, it has deteriorated rapidly to the point where it seems to be literally falling apart.

A couple of months ago, after a very public conversation, Telstra gave me the commitment that they would at least clean the site up.

Telstra made contact with me and gave me assurances a clean-up would take place and that they are working on an outcome.

However, since then they haven’t even be bothered to deal with the presence of putrid pigeon faeces by way of a simple clean.

The corporate juggernaut that is Telstra has simply paid lip service to council and the local community.

This should be one of the easier tasks that a Mayor is able to do.

Get community feedback, take action by way of letters and phone calls to advocate on behalf of the community and raise the concerns and see that the job gets done.

Considering every day I have been grappling with major development issues, painfully long negotiations with government agencies as well as getting my head around a $270 million dollar council budget, I was pleased that this simple task of raising the issue with Telstra seemed to be easy.

Obviously not.

Let me be very clear about the importance of this iconic building to the community.

Almost every historical photograph of Dubbo’s main street has the clock tower somewhere in it.

Photographs of horses on a dusty dirt Macquarie Street have the clock tower as an icon.

Going through the generations, the clock tower is depicted in pictures of City events held around and during both World War I and World War II.

The tower stood proudly as our monarch passed by on two occasions and was the main street feature when Dubbo was officially declared a City just over 50 years ago.

Indeed our clock tower is a symbol of the historical essence of our great city and today it stands in one of the economic and tourism hot spots of Dubbo.

The grand old building greets tourists who are visiting our Old Dubbo Gaol and cinema complex and retail shoppers pass by it every day.

Over the last few generations Telstra and its previous incarnations (Telecom, PMG) have made a hell of a lot of money from the Dubbo community and after all that this is how they treat us - by neglecting our most significant heritage building to the extent it is literally falling apart.

Sometimes I wish I kept a Derryn Hinch-style shame file.

Council details:

Dubbo Regional Council

Located at the corner Church and Darling streets, Dubbo.

Phone: 6801 4000

This story Eye on Dubbo: Telstra, isn’t it about time to make a call to the cleaners? first appeared on Daily Liberal.