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Asbestos find on island

Date

Joni Scanlon

Asbestos has been found near the Kingston Foreshore marina.

Asbestos has been found near the Kingston Foreshore marina. Photo: Elesa Lee

Environmental control measures are being implemented to reduce health risks from asbestos contaminated material found on part of the Kingston Foreshore Island.

More than 50 samples were taken across the site in December and revealed four isolated pockets of asbestos in bonded form.

Land Development Agency chief executive David Dawes said despite some concern from residents that the island was an artificially-constructed site and the soil had been brought onto the location, the contamination is the result of the industrial nature of the site.

“The industrial nature of the past activities on the site, and the absence of environmentally conscious waste disposal practices that existed during the site's industrial use, contributed to its contamination,” Mr Dawes said.

Foreshore residents were recently informed in a letter from the Land Development Agency of precautionary measures being implemented on part of the island in association with the sale of the site.

Inner South Canberra Community Council deputy chairperson Anne Forrest said the discovery of asbestos in the Kingston Foreshore is a serious concern.

“This is an asbestos issue which has wide community ramifications, both for the people handling it and for the residents, and also for its safe disposal,” she said.

“If we're not careful we're creating another wave of asbestos-related diseases for the next generation.”

The Land Development Agency has advised residents on its website that health risks to the general public appear to be minimal. Air monitoring to date has been clear, but monitoring will continue to ensure public safety.

The areas where the asbestos has been detected are currently fenced off and subject to strict environmental controls. Signage advising that the area may contain contaminated material has been displayed and the LDA confirmed there are weekly site inspections.

Mr Dawes said Worksafe inspectors and the Environmental Protection Authority are monitoring the control measures.

“As a former industrial site, Kingston Foreshore is subject to strict environmental controls. The area is being managed in accordance with an Environmental Management Plan which has been approved by an independent environmental site auditor and the EPA,” he said.

“Kingston Foreshore has been assessed by an independent contaminated sites auditor and determined to be 'fit for purpose' in relation to its intended use.

“The precautionary measures implemented by the LDA will remain in place until the site is sold and will then be managed by the purchaser who is required to develop the site in accordance with the strict environmental controls as outlined in the EMP.”

• Anyone with concerns should contact the Kingston Foreshore Project director on 6205 0600 or email LDA@act.gov.au

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