Yarraville residents living near the abandoned Bradmill factory are demanding stronger measures to target antisocial behaviour at the site.
They are also calling for more pressure to be placed on Beijing-based development conglomerate Chang Sheng, which entered a $172 million deal for the 24-hectare property, to begin its redevelopment.
Maribyrnong council has granted an extension until February for building to begin on the first phase of the Yarraville Gardens’ development – a $20 million shopping centre that includes a library, medical centre, supermarkets, shops and apartments.
Despite new fencing being installed last year, the site continues to attract trespassers and criminal activity.
Figures from the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, obtained by Star Weekly, show the MFB has been called to 24 fires on the site in the past 10 years, including 18 structure fires.
Police are also continuing to search for five offenders who robbed and assaulted ravers at a dance party in an abandoned building on the site in the early hours of June 10.
The offenders are understood to have assaulted a number of party-goers and stolen wallets, mobile phones, bags and passports.
Adam Lamerton, who lives near the site, said Maribyrnong council has been hinting they can’t do anything about the lack of development taking place.
He said a string of owners have been land banking the site and the area has become a hub of antisocial activity in the meantime.
“Yarraville has become a booming hub of the inner west and needs development of this site to move forward,” he said.
“The message coming from Maribyrnong council is ‘our hands are tied’ – the council is not doing enough to represent ratepayers on this issue.”
Maribyrnong council has argued it has no powers to compel any landowners to build on their property.
The site owners could not be reached for comment.