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Illegal Dumping in Bruce – Asbestos Cover-Up?

PM 11 November 2008 44

[First filed: 6 November 2008]

Some Rioters may have come across this dumping ground in Bruce near the stadium and some of the newer residences in the suburb:

The dump has been there for some time. When I first noticed the dump, there was merely a sign or two saying words to the effect of “no dumping”. The sign wasn’t authorised by any government office. It looked quite amateurish. Sorry I don’t have a photo of it, but hopefully some readers may have seen it.

A few weeks ago, I noticed more signs with a wire seemingly designed to prevent access to the site.

“Good,” thought I. “Somebody is actually making it difficult to illegally dump on the site rather than just placing a couple of useless signs around.” Well, that wasn’t the case. On closer inspection, the new signs were, well, different.

A work site, eh? Hmm. Still no authorisation on the signs. There was no building activity (and there still isn’t after a few weeks). I couldn’t find anything about the “work site” on the Planning website, but I’m happy to be corrected.

So what did I do? I did some digging. I’m informed that the ACT government (at least at some level – not necessarily any Minister) has been informed that the dump site probably contains asbestos. Don’t get me wrong – I have not been told that asbestos is certainly on the site, but I have been told confidentially that the site is being treated as if it has asbestos, and some samples appear to back that up.

Naturally, I have some questions for the government and for any readers who may be able to shed any light on the subject:

    1. How long does it normally take the government to remove illegally dumped waste from a semi-residential area?
    2. Is the government responsible for the signs and, if so, why was/is there no authorisation on them?
    3. Is the site a work site? If so, what’s the hold up and, if not, what is it going to be?
    4. Did the government erect the wire barrier, and why?
    5. Is the government aware of the allegation/possibility that asbestos is included in the illegally dumped material and, if so, why is it accessible to the public?
    6. If the government knows or believes asbestos is on the site, what is being done to fix it, and is the response in line with best-practice guidelines?

So Rioters, if you have any info that could help me out, post away! Thanks.

UPDATED: The Canberra Times has come to the party:

    New Territory and Municipal Services Minister Jon Stanhope said yesterday the discovery of asbestos since then had caused the delay.

    ”During the clean-up process, ACT Government staff identified asbestos sheeting on the site,” he said.

    ”The clean-up of the site has been delayed while the asbestos is properly removed according to removal guidelines.

    ”I have been advised that the asbestos is contained, fenced off and does not pose a risk to the community. The site will be cleaned up as soon as possible.”

Anyone else think it’s adequately contained? And is hazmat policy these days to not document the hazard?

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44 Responses to Illegal Dumping in Bruce – Asbestos Cover-Up?
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RuffnReady 11:28 pm 17 Nov 08

“the asbestos is contained” – you’ve got to be kidding. Anyone can get at anything they like on that dump.

It’s been very windy lately, and plenty of dust has been whipping up off that site. Someone should go and take some close-up photos now for posterity – when there’s a mesothelioma cluster amongst people who live in Bruce, or at the Institute of Sport (or people like me who regularly ride their bike down that road), they could become rather useful.

Skidbladnir 4:30 pm 12 Nov 08
johnboy 3:51 pm 12 Nov 08

So ken, did the earlier CT story mention asbestos?

Because IMHO an eyesore and a cause of mesothelioma are rather different things.

poptop 2:02 pm 12 Nov 08

Hi Ken =-) The Crimes so rarely follows up on any of its stories.

What or who do you think made Ms Doherty follow up on the 28 August story? Asbestos Elves?

S4anta 1:44 pm 12 Nov 08

bruceman said :

For what it’s worth, the Chief Minister lives in this suburb. It is a great statement about his administration when he has an illegal rubbish dump in his own suburb!

Its a bit hard to know whats going on when you head is that far up your bum you look like a half swallowed pretzel.

PM 12:50 pm 12 Nov 08

ken said :

The Canberra Times reported on August 28 that the then minister, Mr Hargreaves, was ”horrified at the sight of such rubbish”, and that he had said the Government would ”take a hard line” with the dumpers.
PM – the paper was obviously on to the story long before Riot Act

No talk of asbestos in their original article, my friend.

You don’t happen to be Megan Doherty, do you? 🙂

tylersmayhem 10:23 am 12 Nov 08

It is beyond belief that nothing has been done to warn of the potential danger in “Family Friendly” bruce.

Whats “family friendly” about shoebox townhouses/apartments?

I still can’t believe the gall of the Canberra Times lifting story after story off RA, and give zero credit to the site. Fine, I’ll continue to refuse buying that junk that they call The Canberra Times.

ken 10:21 am 12 Nov 08

The Canberra Times reported on August 28 that the then minister, Mr Hargreaves, was ”horrified at the sight of such rubbish”, and that he had said the Government would ”take a hard line” with the dumpers.
PM – the paper was obviously on to the story long before Riot Act

poptop 4:53 pm 11 Nov 08

Minister Hargreaves “directed it be cleaned up in two weeks” back in August. So a reasonable person would probably think that was when the asbestos concern was uncovered.

The action to date seems a little dismissive of the safety of the surrounding community.

Where are the Green MLAs to save us?

PM 3:55 pm 11 Nov 08

poptop said :

At least the Crimes don’t appear to have stolen your photos, PM.

Or not yet . . . 😉

I’m not bitter or anything – I just think it displays the quality of our local rag!

Sn00pi 3:55 pm 11 Nov 08

I will be interested to see how this is handled now that it has been made public there are concerns about asbestos in the site.

It is beyond belief that nothing has been done to warn of the potential danger in “Family Friendly” bruce. I will keep you guys posted on the situation as I live near by. I predict fences and all kinds of work commencing there in the next day or so, who ever is responsible will be looking to over compensate as they get a kick up the a**.
I am actually surprised that the site has not been turned into a BMX track, as local kids normally seek out any mound of dirt within a 50km radius for Knee scrapping excitement, don’t tell me Canberra youth are paying attention to keep out signs?

anyway done with my rant.

AG Canberra 3:03 pm 11 Nov 08

It’s no good making people pay to dump at legitimate sites – if you don’t then police illegal dumping.

Can anyone remember a report of someone being caught illegal dumping? Anyone ever heard of anybody being fined?

poptop 2:52 pm 11 Nov 08

At least the Crimes don’t appear to have stolen your photos, PM.

Or not yet . . . 😉

It is unclear how Our Beloved Leader is going to explain how the discovery of asbestos has resulted in the unsecured site and three month delay. Nor am I sure how he can claim it isn’t a risk to community when the treatment of the asbestos so patently does not comply with his Asbestos Awareness Site

I’ll bet there will be chainwire panels up in the next 24 hours.

Danman 2:52 pm 11 Nov 08

At least the fence will keep airborne asbestos fibres contained.

Good to see someone gives a fcuk

Skidbladnir 2:49 pm 11 Nov 08

I see it as a combination of PM’s headline and Sn00pi’s comment.

PM 2:44 pm 11 Nov 08

Nice of them to give credit where credit is due 🙂

poptop 1:11 pm 11 Nov 08

They even stole PM’s Headline!

RuffnReady 10:22 am 10 Nov 08

People who dump are scum – this is nothing less than environmental vandalism which could be harmful to local residents. I am astounded that the government won’t act quickly on issues like this.

PM 11:34 pm 06 Nov 08

Well, I’ll be interested in whether the Crimes run with this one…

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