CALDWELL House is again in danger of demolition, this time on a technicality.
The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment is again using the presence of friable asbestos as its reason for wanting the site cleared, this time using an independent assessment to take the matter back to the Western Region Planning Panel.
That meeting is scheduled for Tuesday.
At the meeting, the DPIE will point to the assessment's stance there is a greater risk of contamination from the friable asbestos in the building by leaving it standing.
Mayor Reg Kidd described the DPIE's bid to force council to grant its application for demolition as "nonsense".
"You've got to get the asbestos out whether you knock it down or not," Cr Kidd said on Friday.
"There's not a building in Orange built before the 1960s that hasn't got asbestos in it.
"There's asbestos management plans of how you've got to get it out."
Cr Kidd said Orange City Council staff have reviewed the DPIE assessment report and believe there is an error in its conclusion.
"The contamination provisions referred to in the DPIE report as being central to the suggested mandated demolition of all the buildings on the site are simply irrelevant and do not apply to this development proposal", the staff report to the OCC's Planning and Development Committee lst Tuesday stated.
"I think we've got a good case. What they (DPIE) have stated in their reasons for ...wanting it demolished, is incorrect," Cr Kidd said.
The 1937 building council is fighting to retain was given a stay of execution in February this year when the Western Regional Planning Panel ruled in Orange City Council's favour against demolition.
The panel agreed the building had significant heritage value and backed council's plans for housing development.
The saga began in July 2020 when the Health Infrastructure, which owns the site, applied for permission to demolish all buildings on the site.
Council agreed to request with the exception of the 1937 original nurses quarters which face Sale Street, stating they had significant heritage significance to Orange.
"They just think it's easier to get rid of it," Cr Kidd said.
"We went through all sorts of things out at Bloomfield to get the new hospital built - heritage gardens, heritage buildings - one minute they're heritage conservationists, the next minute, when it suits them ...
"It's the last reminder of what was the hospital, apart from the ambulance station on the corner."
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