Owner balks at cleaning up eyesore

TINA LAW
Last updated 05:00 12/08/2014
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stephen luscombe
JOHN HAWKINS/ Fairfax NZ
DISGUSTED: Invercargill bus driver Stephen Luscombe outside the former Frog n’ Firkin building in Dee St. Luscombe says the former nightlife hot spot is an eye sore that needs to be fixed up.

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An Invercargill businessman is refusing to fix one of his empty central city buildings, despite admitting he is ashamed of its derelict state.

The former Frog n' Firkin building in Dee St, owned by Louis Crimp, has been unoccupied since late 2010 when the Invercargill Licensing Trust closed the bar and did not renew its lease.

The building is now boarded up and the plywood is covered in graffiti.

The state of the building and the surrounding bus stop area has drawn criticism from the public, including bus driver Stephen Luscombe who said the area has been neglected for some time.

"It's about safety and cleanliness. Visitors see this and look at Invercargill as a dirty, disgusting hole," Luscombe said.

His passengers often complained about the rubbish left lying around and the gardens had not been touched in a while, he said.

Luscombe believed the city council should enforce the owners to tidy up their building frontages.

Crimp said he hated the way the building looked, but questioned why he should spend thousands of dollars to tidy up a vacant building.

"It looks horrible I know. I'm quite ashamed by it, but it's the same all over town. Invercargill is getting run down."

The multi-millionaire philanthropist said about 300 pigeons were living in the building and he was investigating ways to get rid of them. He would consider selling the building, but questioned who would buy it.

He encouraged people to come up with ideas on a possible future for the building.

Invercargill City Council roading manager Russell Pearson said the council always wanted its building owners to care for their frontages, but it was hard for the owners to do that when the buildings were not tenanted.

Pearson said he was not aware of any complaints about litter or the gardens at the bus stop, but the council would tidy it up.

Invercargill Licensing Trust general manager Greg Mulvey said the trust operated the Frog n' Firkin until its closure at the end of 2010, but did not own the building and did not have a lease on it.

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