Reports of incorrect asbestos removal a cause for concern: councillor

UNDER CONSTRUCTION: The site of the old Canton Restaurant before and after demolition. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

UNDER CONSTRUCTION: The site of the old Canton Restaurant before and after demolition. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

ORANGE councillor Neil Jones wants to ensure correct protocol is adhered to when asbestos is removed from building sites, following accusations by Central West Community Alliance (CWCA) members that hazardous material was incorrectly removed from a Summer Street development on Friday.

Cr Jones confirmed that after being contacted by CWCA members he had asked Orange City Council development services director David Waddell to investigate the removal of building material from the demolition site previously occupied by the Canton Restaurant.

“I would be concerned if a company was removing material containing asbestos without following the required procedures,” Cr Jones said.

CWCA conveners Joe Maric and Bernard Fitzsimon are calling for greater transparency when it comes to the identification, removal and transportation of asbestos from building sites.

Mr Maric believed material removed from the Summer Street site on Friday contained asbestos and wanted reassurance the material was removed correctly.

“I saw trucks driving out of there completely uncovered. Even if they didn’t contain asbestos it (the material in the back of the truck) should have been covered,” he said.

“I want WorkCover NSW to get involved urgently and do an inspection of the site, or go back to their original inspection to see if the building that was demolished on Friday contained asbestos.

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“[If there was asbestos] They also need to monitor the area to see if there are asbestos particles in the air and also find out which way the truck went to the tip, and what tip it went to.

“The area where the work was done also needs to be sealed off.”

Mr Fitzsimon said it was important all relevant parties, including the public, be assured material containing asbestos was being removed correctly from building sites.

“We want transparency,” he said.

“If you look at the age of the building that was knocked down on Friday, the style of the building, and its construction, you know it must contain asbestos.”

Last week a WorkCover spokesperson said while there were buildings containing asbestos at the PrimeSpace Property worksite, they had been assured by the contractor that a licensed asbestos removalist would be used to undertake the work.

“WorkCover is satisfied with the work, health and safety systems in place to manage the safe removal of asbestos containing material from the site,” the spokesperson said.

PrimeSpace Property chief executive officer Anthony McDonald could not be contacted for a comment, but said last week his company was adhering to the guidelines of the development application approved by Orange City Council.

tracey.prisk@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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