Northern Beaches Council has stepped in to clean up asbestos contamination at Killarney Heights.

In a public safety statement released yesterday afternoon (Thursday, 11 April), Council has ordered an urgent asbestos clean-up at Killarney Heights Shopping Centre.

The Council issued an ‘Emergency Order’ to a contractor engaged by a business at 35 Tramore Place, Killarney Heights, following reports of unsafe removal of asbestos.

Asbestos cleanup at Killarney Heights shops

Alerted to the issue last Friday (05 April) by a concerned member of the public, Council immediately attended the site to investigate. A thorough check of the area revealed a few small bonded asbestos fragments on a small area of green turf and footpath, attributed to works undertaken to fix a shop awning (image above).

Council reported the contaminated material to the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), which advises that bonded asbestos, also known as non-friable asbestos, is lower risk than friable asbestos.

Asbestos cleanup at Killarney Heights shops

The business at Tramore Place was ordered by Council to cordon off all impacted areas, including the children’s play area in the heart of the shopping precinct.

The outdoor play area was an important part of Council’s upgrade works to support retailers during the COVID pandemic and to activate public spaces. It was completed in September 2020 at a cost of $250k and includes play equipment, shade sails, synthetic turf, additional seating, footpath lighting and landscaping (video below).

Council staff revisited the site three-days later on Monday (08 April) to find it had not been cleaned to Council’s ‘required level’. This resulted in Council issuing an Emergency Order to the business on Tuesday (09 April).

The Order, ‘requires the contractor to secure the site to ensure no unauthorised persons may enter or come into contact with any unsealed or broken asbestos containing material until an adequate clearance has been provided by a suitably qualified Occupational Hygienist that no loose asbestos containing material remains’.

Asbestos cleanup at Killarney Heights shops

Further inspections carried out by Council staff on Tuesday (09 April) and Wednesday (10 April) found no visible signs of asbestos fragments remaining. However, a further inspection conducted yesterday (Thursday, 11 April) found new building materials scattered on the site.

To ensure public safety, Council has closed off the children’s play area and stepped in, engaging its own external contractor to clean up the site. The impacted area has been fenced and taped off, and asbestos removal work is expected to be completed today (Friday, 12 April). The area will be reopened by Council when it is safe to access again.

Asbestos cleanup at Killarney Heights shops

Council have advised, that in addition to notifying the EPA, they are liaising with SafeWork NSW about the conduct of the contractor.

If anyone suspects asbestos waste is being dumped on private or public land, report it to Northern Beaches Council 24/7 on 1300 434 434.

Update Thursday, 18 April 2024:

Northern Beaches Council has provided the following update (18 April) on the clean-up at Killarney Heights shops:

“With public safety always a Council priority, we’re pleased to advise residents it’s safe to return to the Killarney Heights shops.

“The works required by Council’s Emergency Order for 35 Tramore Place, issued on Tuesday 9 April 2024, have been complied with.

“Council undertook the clean-up through its licenced contractors to ensure a small amount of bonded asbestos was removed safely. Sample tests were conducted on dust samples and air monitoring. We have now received all required clearance certificates for the area.

“This clearance enables shoppers to return to this popular shopping precinct with confidence and support local businesses.”

Images: Northern Beaches Advocate
Video: Councillor Stuart Sprott

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