‘Alive with them’: Cockroach infestation in rental units

 

REMOVALIST Roland Boughton's experience at notorious property Plaza Palms would make anyone's skin crawl.

The professional mover uncovered what he claims was a seething infestation of cockroaches in at least one of the short term accommodation units.

"I took a bedframe and when I moved it about 40 -50 cockroaches came out - of a timber bedframe," Mr Boughton said.

"They were coming out of the woodwork, everywhere.

If I waited to count them all I'd still be counting.

Mr Boughton is not the first to raise concerns over the state of Plaza Palms.

Westcourt property manager Humphrey Hollins was stunned by its condition and Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch described it as a "bloody slum".

The Plaza Palms complex has been strata titled among private landlords and is not considered by the state government to be public housing, which limits its powers of intervention.

Recent attempts to sell the complex have hit roadblocks due to the resistance of one or two vendors.

Mr Boughton has made several to Plaza Palms, moving the furniture of incoming and exiting tenants but this latest job just before Christmas made his flesh creep.

"I had to pick a couch up and it was alive with them; the infestation was so great I refused to pick it up."

A German cockroach - the household bugs have given humans the heebie jeebies since time immemorial and can harbour bacteria and viruses.
A German cockroach - the household bugs have given humans the heebie jeebies since time immemorial and can harbour bacteria and viruses.

"This is the worst I have seen in Cairns."

He said the creepy crawlies resembled German cockroaches.

"Those ones are pretty bad," he said. "To live in that environment - there are young kids in there.

German roaches thrive in relatively high humidity - 80 per cent - and temperatures up to 35C.

Cairns Regional Council has the power to issue infringements in areas of premises maintenance, public nuisance and waste management under Local Law Number 3.

However the ancient arthropods have skittered between Local and State legislation as Plaza Palms is not a restaurant or food business.

A council spokesman said under State rules "roaches are not defined as a pest when they are on private property."

"The landowner is solely responsible for their management," the spokesman said.


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