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Council Agrees Additional Asbestos Clean-up

Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) elected members have approved an additional $6.3M budget for cleaning up historic asbestos contamination from the Lakeview site[1].

At the Council meeting yesterday, a planned 2020-2021 budget of $2.3M was extended to a total $8.6M for 2020-21 to ensure that asbestos containing materials (ACM) uncovered during site clearance can be handled, transferred and disposed of safely.

QLDC Property Director Richard Pope said that the amount of asbestos containing materials discovered in the buildings and soil was significantly higher than had been originally expected. The materials discovered appear to be from historic activity prior to 1970.

“The plan had always assumed a certain amount of ACM due to the age of the site and the buildings. It’s very common for building materials such as pipes or roofing from before 2000 to contain asbestos. Pre-demolition surveys outlined the ACM to be expected in the buildings, but as clearance progresses we are discovering significant unexpected material in the soils underneath and around the buildings. There appears to be historic treatment of building materials where cabins and other campground buildings have previously been knocked down or altered, which has resulted in levels of ACM far beyond what was planned for.”

Having now uncovered the ACM, QLDC is now committed to dealing with it responsibly and safely, and leaving a site and public space that is safe for future use.

“Ultimately the Lakeview site will have people living and working here, there will be public spaces, businesses and homes. Although it is additional budget, we know it’s the right thing to do for the environment and future generations to treat this contamination properly now. QLDC has had an excellent track record with this site in minimising the waste from this site clearance in line with our environmental objectives. To date, 89% of waste generated from the site has been diverted from landfill. This represents 3,903 tonnes recycled and 554 tonnes reused,” added Mr Pope.

“Stopping work was not an option, not only would it have voided our agreements with developer partners but this would be in contradiction to the objectives that Council resolved to pursue in selling the site for development in the first place. It would have made the site unusable, and deferred the clean-up burden to a point when it could likely be even more costly,” said Mr Pope.

The process for identifying and managing ACM included employing contractors experienced in handling ACM, undertaking regular test pits and air monitoring, contained transport, and disposal at a dedicated safe site in Southland. QLDC has removed 221 truckloads of asbestos contaminated soil to the end of March.

The total budget for the site clearance project is currently forecast at $12.0M and includes additional budget to be approved as part of the draft 2021-2031 Ten Year Plan.

© Scoop Media

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