Friday, July 19, 2024

Inner West Mayor slams pace of asbestos clean-up

Inner West Council says today’s discovery of friable asbestos at a location on Victoria Road in Rozelle shows that clean-up contractors are not on track to meet the EPA’s orders to complete all remediation of Rozelle Parklands and surrounding areas by 28 February.

The Council says the new friable asbestos was found in a location that was meant to have been cleaned up and remediated before now.

“We were assured that all testing in Rozelle was completed and that the contaminated mulch at sites along Victoria Road was going to be removed before now,” said Mayor, Darcy Byrne (pictured) said.

“Clearly John Holland and CPB are not on track to meet next week’s statutory deadline for the complete remediation of Rozelle Parklands and Victoria Road. This is outrageous and a direct consequence of these contractors not taking responsibility and properly resourcing the urgent clean-up of this toxic mess.

“The new discovery of this more dangerous asbestos shows that this nightmare is far from over in Rozelle.”

The EPA investigation into asbestos contaminated mulch returned seven positive results and three negative results in the past day, taking the total number of positive sites to 54.

“One of the new sites is a garden bed, along the Rozelle Interchange, located between Callan St and Springside St at the Iron Cove Bridge. It has tested positive to friable asbestos. Transport for NSW has fenced off the site. Removal of mulch in the area has begun and is expected to take several nights,” the EPA said.

Six sites returned positive results for bonded asbestos:

  • Children’s Hospital, Westmead (construction site, no public access and fenced off)
  • Bicentennial Park 2 (between Chapman Road and Johnstons Creek), Glebe (affected areas fenced off and signs installed)
  • Jubilee Park, Glebe (affected areas fenced off and signs installed)
  • Mont Saint Quentin Oval, Bardia (site fenced off)
  • Observatory Hill Park, Millers Point (affected areas fenced off and signs installed)
  • Oran Park Fire Station, Oran Park (site secured, remediation underway)

“Testing at these sites has been done by the EPA, councils and property owners. The EPA will work closely with them to provide advice around remediation,” the EPA said.

Three sites – St Benedict’s Catholic College, Oran Park, St Justin’s Catholic Primary School, Oran Park, and Sutherland Hospital – returned negative results following precautionary testing.

Mayor Darcy says the remediation delays also threaten the viability of the upcoming Biennale at White Bay Power Station, as the path from the Lilyfield Light Rail station to the Power Station remains closed, making the event inaccessible for most Sydney commuters.

“Last week, we saw the cancellation of Mardi Gras Fair Day. Now the Biennale, which is expected to attract 800,000 patrons, is imperilled as well. This is a potential disaster for Sydney’s arts and cultural sector.”

“Since the discovery of asbestos contamination in the Parklands in January, John Holland and CPB have sought to wash their hands of the problem. Their CEO’s have refused to even respond to correspondence from the Council, come to Rozelle, or meet with anyone from the local community.

“Now we find out that they are not adhering to the legally required schedule for the clean-up of this asbestos mess. They seem to truly believe that they are above the law,” he said.

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