30 September 2008

Defence kiboshes Belconnen grassland refuge plan

| johnboy
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The Canberra Times reports that Defence is getting a wriggle on with cleaning up the old Belconnen Naval Transmission Station site now that the public has twigged to the piles of toxic chemicals and asbestos left lying all over the place.

They’re planning to ignore the ACT Government (not of itself a bad move) and rip up the contaminated soil for trucking to the Mugga Lane tip.

In the process the sun moths and earless dragons which the Chief Minister had hoped to create an enourmous reserve to protect (and which one can only assume are cancerous and wheezing anyway from all the dangerous substances) will also be consigned to oblivion.

Funny how this only became so urgent once the public became aware of a problem.

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Thumper said :

hey, when you are 9 years old, and your father is in the RAAF, if he says you would get shot, you believe him….

Not me. We used to raise merry hell on base when I was a kid, even got subdued by a guard dog once. Being brought home by the MPs was the worst though, especially when your old man was CO base SQN.

depends on the base. Darwin, now, they would have looked the other way. Great Bunkers there, especially on the cliffs by the port. edinburgh or amberley, you would be in a world of pain….

toowoomba was the best base of the lot. many happy memories. The areas that were off limits to us kids were usually pretty smelly, or they had lots of bunkers around.

It appears that defence will take full responsibility for cleaning up the site, which is only to be expected.

However, as there will always be some lingering doubt as to whether or not there is any residual contamination, it would only seem feasible to create a park or nature corridor instead of more dreary medium density dwellings.

The area could have plantings of natives to create more habitat, not only for moths and lizards, but for echidnas, roos, possums, frogs etc. Pathways could be built so visitors can stroll through the area. Interpretive signs could also inform visitors of what they are experiencing.

As well, the remains of the old base could be conserved as they do have cultural and historical significance.

All in all it makes a lot of sense to have such an area put aside for the public. Canberra is rapidly losing a lot of it’s green space and with the closure of schools it would appear that more will go. Therefore, put the medium density housing on the old school zones and open up the Lawson area.

In 20 years time people will really appreciate the fact they have such a facility so close to suburbia. if it is built on then it is gone forever.

I’m on Stanhope’s side with this one.

hey, when you are 9 years old, and your father is in the RAAF, if he says you would get shot, you believe him….

Not me. We used to raise merry hell on base when I was a kid, even got subdued by a guard dog once. Being brought home by the MPs was the worst though, especially when your old man was CO base SQN.

I reckon cleaning it up and keeping it as a grassland / nature reserve / mountain bike park is the go. If you build houses there people are going to get sick and sue – it’ll cost more in the long run.

If people are that desperate for a cheap house in Belconnen that they’ll happily live in a wasteland, then they should move to Charnwood.

peterh said :

hey, when you are 9 years old, and your father is in the RAAF, if he says you would get shot, you believe him….

I have to agree with Pete on this one, The old mans was a RAAFie and his word was law. If he said back then that i would be shot i would have believed him. He had a lot of good stories about things hidden around and under Canberra.

Just as a note of interest, Boeing were using that area in 2006 and they had quite a large set up in there.

Danman – The tip at McKellar was down on the eastern corner, near William Slim Drive & Owen Dixon Drive. They have now cleaned it up *cough* *cough*, built a little pond and medium density housing. I wonder how many of the people living there know what’s under their houses?

hey, when you are 9 years old, and your father is in the RAAF, if he says you would get shot, you believe him….

Uh oh … you just broke your promise!

*chuckle*

Drive you home if you promised not to tell anyone you’d gotten over their fence more like it.

and aircraft maintenance crews used freon to get oil off their hands….

not at all good.

I remember when lawson was a place that stuffed up radio reception, and I never once tried to go over the fence to check it out. Wasn’t worried about the hazardous chemicals, my father just told me that the navy would shoot me.

Families were using DDT as flyspray when I was growing up.

And I bet it worked better then the weak-arse flyspray you can buy now.

DECC appears to accept that “Disposal of Non-Scheduled Solid PCB Waste” will take place in landfills. It does appear that the concentration of PCBs appears to be the limiting factor with regard to how you dispose of it. Since we are talking about PCB contamination of soil, I guess that is pretty low concentration.

When I was a wee tacker living in Giralang, we all knew that “Lawson” which was active at the time had asbestos cement buried on site. This was mid/late 80’s.

Funnily enough – I was talking about this to mother of Danman and she said she remembers when we moved into our street in 1977/78 that McKellar was not in existance and that a local tip was where McKellar now stands.

Mrs Danman remembers when she moved into Florey – and hers was one of scant few houses in paddocks.

Decontaminate the site and make it an urban nature park i reckon.

Common sense usually doesn’t have a lot to do with it. Families were using DDT as flyspray when I was growing up.

If you plan to muck around in the waste there, agreed.

Frankly I’m very surprised they can dump PCBs into landfill.

Better not visit the tip then…

PCBs and asbestos as best dealt with guys, otherwise the site will be very dangerous for visitors.

I *really* hate to agree with Comrade Stanhope, but just leaving the whole site as grassland seems like it might be the right idea? Of course the way it works, Defence can never relinquish ownership while it is contaminated, and I guess now that they are not using it there are eager to turn a profit as soon as possible.

Maybe there could build a dragway there? Bogans wouldn’t care about contamination…

just leave that area be, dont develop it. Just let it grow over and become a nature reserve. It will sort itself out.

Yep, my sentiments exactly. Plant some trees, put in some paths and leave it as green space.

Given the rapidly disappearing green space in this city it would be nice to keep this.

besides, it looks good when you drive past it.

I really dont see what all the fuss is about, we have all known for years that the land around there is contaminated. This not new information, it has been on public record for years. It is just a beat up by the greens to say: “hey, we are still here. Listen to us!”

This goes against a lot of my beliefs but just leave that area be, dont develop it. Just let it grow over and become a nature reserve. It will sort itself out.

Thumper, I doubt he would even if he did know what was there….

Then Stanhope better get writing to 747Kevin and/ or Joel Fitzgibbon.

I’d be more concerned with what’s ‘underneath’ the soil…..

Hence why Defence will keep the ACT Govt out.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy8:58 am 30 Sep 08

The moths haven’t evolved because they have low self esteeem due to an unhappy pupaehood. They need to be placed in a government funded, moth rights compliant facility where they can express themselves, safe in the knowledge they will never be expected to take care of themselves, yet allowed to leave and spend time in the general moth community whenever they feel ready.

I find this titbit interesting:

Defence has sought permission from Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett to push ahead next month with the six-month clean-up, claiming the contamination poses “an unacceptable health risk to the community”.

Wasn’t Jon saying just a couple of days ago that there was “no risk to the community”? Somebody’s telling porkies…

So Defence didn’t manage to crush all the golden sun moths and earless dragons with the Kangaroo Corral of Death back in May?

I’ve just read up on the golden sun moth and I can’t say I’m surprised it is critically endangered. It is a moth reluctent to fly and the adults die after 2-5 days because they have evolved so the can’t eat. What sort of survival traits are those?

One imagines that they could only exist under the welfare regime of the ACT.

Yeah, I can see the merit in that…

Especially the statues…

I’d rather they built lots and lots of medium density homes around a large statue of a golden sun moth and an earless dragon cavorting in a stainless steel representation of a native grassland.

But that’s just me.

I still rather it remained a nature reserve, even if the earless dragons can’t walk more than five metres due to mesothelioma.

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