THE Yarralumla Residents Association says it supports community requests for measures to ensure that asbestos remediation at the Canberra Brickworks does not threaten their health and safety.
At an ACT Government public information session on 3 September 2014 attended by over 100 Canberrans, there was overwhelming support for a motion from the floor of the meeting that:
- Acknowledged the Chief Minister’s assurances that “the final remediation strategy will be designed to ensure the site’s remediation in a manner that is protective of the health and safety of the local community as well as site workers.”
- Supported key elements of the proposed first stage of works to remove loose asbestos sheeting on the soil surface and to undertake further investigative works.
- Voiced extreme concern about the proposed second stage of works, namely, digging up and then transferring up to 14,400 tonnes of asbestos and other contaminated material through Canberra’s suburbs – from Yarralumla to West Belconnen. This pre-empts other options such as on-site containment.
- Requested an investigation of a possible transport route away from residences for the trucks transferring the contaminated waste, as well as the full works budget.
- Demanded safer handling of any dust created by the work, including by real-time monitoring of asbestos levels and “tenting” of the remediation site.
- Asked for investigative works beyond the current limited site area to determine the full extent of asbestos contamination on the Brickworks site.
- Called for the Yarralumla Residents Association, the Inner South Canberra Community Council and other relevant community councils to convene a meeting urgently with the Chief Minister to discuss these issues, and to seek assurances that any remediation action in stage 2 only be decided after further community consultation and after final plans have been made for the Canberra Brickworks and environs development.
“The Yarralumla Residents Association would be pleased to act on the motion passed by the meeting, and to seek a meeting with the Chief Minister, together with the Inner South Canberra Community and other relevant community councils”, said the Association’s President, Marea Fatseas.
“We appreciate the Chief Minister’s commitment to the community’s health and safety in relation to asbestos remediation, and we welcome the opportunity to discuss with her how we can ensure the safest approach to asbestos remediation at the Brickworks.
“Our Association is also mindful that one of the key requests in the recent petition about the Canberra Brickworks and environs development, signed by over 4000 Canberrans, was for the ACT Government to ‘provide extensive public reports and costings on plans for the safe removal of asbestos and other contaminated material from the site and implications for health and safety’ ”.
[Photo: Supplied by the residents association “what seems to be asbestos lying on the ground outside the Brickworks fence”]