Termites – talk of the town

Cameron Howe, The Mordialloc Chronicle
February 27, 2018

Experts warn that your home could be next as termites take up residence across Kingston, yet we are no closer to the implementation of a termite policy.

Melbourne Polytechnic’s Entomologist, Dr Don Ewart is certain that the City of Kingston should be declared termite prone. “It’s crazy not to,” he said.

Although it is mandatory in other states for measures to be put in place during construction to mitigate termite damage, this is not the case in Victoria. “They are there, it’s obvious, and it’s only Victoria who has held out with their stupidity. We’ve known about this issue for decades, but local government are slow to react,” said Dr Ewart.

Termites prefer a damp, moist environment and thrive on dead plants, trees, and have adapted to housing too. Dr Ewart said that these characteristics were present within the City of Kingston, and that without adequate prevention during construction, termites could do tens of thousands of dollars of damage.

Exopest’s Operations Manager and local resident, Peter Ferguson said that, “there are plenty of incidents of termites in the City of Kingston and I am aware of several in my street alone.” Similarly, Action Pest Control’s Jaime Ackland believes that the pests are “prevalent” throughout the municipality.

In September, the council ran an online survey, in which it sought to understand the location and timing of termite attacks, along with the types of building materials affected. According to the council’s Planning and Development General Manager, Jonathan Guttmann, in March last year the decision was made to consult with the public, Real Estate Institute of Victoria and the construction industry, in relation to the issue of termites within the municipality.

However, residents and some councillors are frustrated with the lack of progress. Former Kingston Mayor and resident, Lesley McGurgan whose home has had termites said that the Council had been aware of the issue for some years. The implementation of a policy is “taking too long” in her eyes and likewise, Councillor Tamsin Bearsley believes that the process has become arduous. 

The council have announced that the September survey results will be considered at an upcoming meeting in the next few months.

UPDATE 26/08/18: in a July statement, the City of Kingston said: “A report is due to be tabled at an Ordinary Council meeting sometime in the next three months (July, August, September.)”

September is less than a week away and the report has not yet been tabled.

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