Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Macedon Ranges council works with EPA to clean up building sites

EPA Victoria and Macedon Ranges Shire Council have inspected 34 building sites around Gisborne and New Gisborne, and say they’re unhappy with how the local building industry is meeting its responsibilities.

Two teams staged a one-day campaign of unannounced inspections in the Willow Estate and Cathlaw Estate, checking that builders, developers and construction workers were meeting their safety, environmental and building compliance obligations.

EPA issued seven regulatory notices – each one a legally enforceable order to fix a problem by a set deadline – with two more to come. 

EPA will also issue an Infringement Notice for a duty holder that had multiple sites with repeated non-compliances that required clean-up, the Authority said in a statement today.

Four Official Warnings are also planned, which come with no sanction but go on the official record, it said.

Council officers issued 52 infringements for breaches of the Community Local Law 2023 related to building sites with lack of – or non-compliant – building site signage, incorrect management of building waste onsite, lack of toilet facilities, unsecure site fencing, skip bins on Council land without a permit, and general rubbish on Council land. 

Local Laws Officers also issued three parking fines and referred seven unsafe sites to WorkSafe Victoria for further investigation.  

EPA Northwest Regional Manager, Paul Ratajczyk says businesses and tradies must know their responsibilities.

“The warnings were about sediment being discharged from sites, paint-contaminated water entering the stormwater system, plaster, brick dust or cement washing into drains and creeks – careless breaches, easily fixed but they should never have happened,” Mr Ratajczyk.

“The regulatory notices dealt with actions such as clean-up of waste, building waste and concrete scraps that were dumped on an empty block,” he said.

Macedon Ranges Shire Council Director Planning and Environment, Rebecca Stockfeld said Council would continue to take a strong regulatory approach to building site compliance.

“We want to ensure that all building sites across the Macedon Ranges are doing the right thing, for their own benefit and for the environment around them,” she said.

“Officers reported disappointment in the non-compliant state of many of the building sites recently inspected – this is simply not good enough, particularly given the warning of inspections ahead of time.

“We encourage members of the public to support us in our monitoring by reporting any alleged breaches directly to Council for further investigation.”

While the inspections were unannounced, EPA and the Council had separately written to more than 50 companies working on the Estates, reminding them of their responsibilities under the Environment Protection Act 2017 and the Community Local Law 2023.

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