October 21, 2018

Asbestos 'buried at Bowral golf course'

When the new Gibraltar Hotel next to the council golf course in Bowral was completed last May, the opening was attended by Premier Barry O’Farrell, Minister for Small Business Katrina Hodgkinson and local MP Pru Goward.

Developer John Uliana, who now sits as an independent on the Wingecarribee Shire Council, and wife Liz looked on as the Premier said: ”If you have an idea and work bloody hard, you can generally achieve your goal, do well for your family and contribute to the community, and ultimately that seems to be what John and Liz have done despite every obstacle thrown at them.”

But exactly how Cr Uliana, who runs Bowral Country Living Pty Ltd with his wife, achieved those goals has been put under close scrutiny.

Complaints from another independent councillor made to the Independent Commission Against Corruption claim the developer, also leasee of the adjacent golf course, buried asbestos on the course before the new hotel was built.

In documents seen by The Sun-Herald, councillor Garry Turland writes: ”During the course of construction of the hotel adjacent to the course by Councillor Uliana’s company a number of older buildings were demolished. This involved the removal and treatment of asbestos. The statements of the former golf course superintendent indicate that the asbestos was buried on the golf course site.”

Barry O’Farrell, Katrina Hodgkinson, and John and Liz Uliana at the opening of the Gibraltar Hotel.

Cr Turland said: ”The clubhouse was full of asbestos. He dug a hole and buried it.”

Former course superintendent Glen Wright told The Sun-Herald he knew where the asbestos was and that staff had told him about it. ”If it was just fibro you would not bury it,” he said.

”Someone has gone to a lot of trouble of burying it and putting a lot of shit on top of it.”

The documents also allege Cr Uliana dumped waste from other building sites on the golf course and that he had breached terms of the golf course lease. They also accuse Wingecarribee Shire Council of handling the issues in private rather than in open council meetings.

But Cr Uliana said it was untrue that he had removed asbestos from the clubhouse or that he had buried asbestos on the golf course. He also said only a small amount of work required under the lease had not been completed because of drainage issues to be addressed by the council.

He said he had reluctantly taken on the lease of the golf course so that houses wouldn’t be built on it.

”The original linings of the building are still there, they have not been demolished,” he said.

Cr Uliana said the allegations were politically inspired to try to remove him from the delicately balanced council.

”I welcome any investigation, they will find that what has happened here is political. Evil prospers when good men do nothing.”

ICAC wrote to Cr Turland earlier this month saying it would conduct an initial assessment but that not all matters it received resulted in an investigation.

The Wingecarribee council said a small triangle of bonded asbestos fibrous cement was found near the greenkeeper’s shed after it received a complaint. As a precautionary measure, a company had recently been engaged to prepare an asbestos remediation strategy, which had been submitted to the Environment Protection Authority.


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Asbestos 'buried at Bowral golf course'

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