Asbestos removalists have begun taking away contaminated soil piles from the development site in Campbell.
ABC Asbestos removalists have begun taking away contaminated soil piles from the development site in Campbell.

Residents living near the Campbell section 5 development in Canberra’s north are angry they have been given no warnings about the removal of asbestos from the site.

Contractors wearing protection suits have been helping to move piles of dirt from the fenced-off area near the corner of Constitution Avenue and Creswell Street.

Local resident Fiona Cotton says the only warning was a few small signs along the fence.

“There’s a lot of publicity about Mesothelioma and airborne (asbestos) particles,” she said.

“Now these workers are accredited asbestos removalists but I just think the main issue is that we’ve got no assurances about what is going on.

“We should have been informed so we could drive the other way to avoid the area.”

The asbestos contamination is thought to have been caused by builders rubble dumped during the 1950s.

Another neighbour Mark Anderson says few details have been released by the Land Development Agency (LDA) which is overseeing the project on ACT Government land.

“We knew that this material was going to be removed from the site at some stage,” he said.

“What we didn’t expect was that it would start without any advice to the people who live around.

“There’s been a lot of high wind days for the past few weeks and I can’t see much evidence of dust suppression although I did see a water truck there this morning.”

‘Extensive consultation’

However the LDA says extensive public consultation has taken place including letters and seven newsletters sent to residents.

LDA Chief Executive David Dawes says site is being managed in accordance with strict environmental controls.

“The LDA is working with the Environmental Protection Agency and ACT WorkSafe to ensure that these measures are being rigorously adhered to by the contractor,” he said.

“A strict stockpile management protocol is being undertaken and an environmental consultant is on site overseeing all stockpile movements of asbestos contaminated material.

“The environmental consultant is also ensuring that appropriate dust suppression methods are being undertaken.”

He says air quality monitoring for asbestos contamination is continuing and to date the monitoring has been clear.

The LDA has also announced it will post on its website the weekly program of works to be undertaken on the site.

The master plan for the Campbell 5 site includes buildings for residential, retail and commercial uses plus parkland and walking paths.

Once completed the site is expected to have about 520 dwelling units.

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Campbell residents claim they were not told about asbestos removal