Asbestos rife at station site
WORK has ground to a halt on construction of the new Tweed Heads Police Station after a stash of discarded asbestos was discovered during excavations.
The contamination could cost “many hundreds of thousands of dollars” and also blow out the construction time, according to Tweed MP Geoff Provest.
Mr Provest said it could take another four weeks before contractor Brookfield Global Integrated Solutions could establish a plan to resolve the issue.
It’s unclear how long the removal works could take, and they could see the $13.3 million project go seriously over budget.
“They’ve found previous builders have dumped asbestos into the ground,” Mr Provest said.
“So they’ve got to work out a system for removal.
“Four weeks ago... they said they’d take about eight weeks.”
Mr Provest said the removal process would not come cheap.
“It’s going to be a significant cost,” he said.
Until the asbestos has been safely removed, work has come to a complete halt.
“They can’t really do anything under OH&S,” Mr Provest said.
Aside from establishing a plan to remove the contaminated soil, Mr Provest said they didn’t know how deep the issue lay.
“No one’s been able to tell me whether it’s two tonnes of contaminated soil or 10 tonnes,” he said.
It’s believed the demolition of the building which stood there decades ago was the source of the asbestos.
“I’ve been advised that the previous structure replaces another structure in the early 70s,” Mr Provest said.
“It was then common practice to dig a big hole, dump it all in and then fill it back up again.”
Tweed/Byron LAC Superintendent Wayne Starling said he was aware of the asbestos discovery.
A NSW Police spokesperson said the NSW Police Force property management sector and contractor Brookfield Global Integrated Solutions were working to resolve the issue.
“The NSWPF Property Group and BGIS (Brookfield Global Integrated Solutions) are working to minimise the impact and delays on the project,” the spokesperson said.
A spokeswoman for Police Minister Troy Grant said they had high hopes the contamination would not lead to significant delays on the works, which were due to be completed in the middle of next year. “They are working to ensure there minimal delays, if any at all,” she said.
Approval of the Wharf St station, which will be the new Tweed/Byron LAC headquarters, ended a five-year battle for the right location, which included the proposal for a new beach- front station in Kingscliff.