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Plan to prevent asbestos escaping

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The construction site, left of Anzac Parade, as seen from Mount Ainslie Lookout.

The construction site, left of Anzac Parade, as seen from Mount Ainslie Lookout. Photo: Karleen Minney

A plan is in place to prevent asbestos fibres escaping from a construction site close to the Australian War Memorial, the new ASIO building and private homes in Campbell.

Air-monitoring and wetting down of the area is part of a remediation plan for the site on Constitution Avenue where a $250 million housing and commercial development is planned.

Bonded asbestos will be disturbed and thousands of cubic metres of contaminated soil removed in an operation expected to last four months.

The Canberra Times reported in December 2011 that asbestos had been found at the site, which was an unofficial dump for building waste in the 1950s. The Land Development Agency - which has marked the block for 520 dwellings and 8000 square metres of commercial space - has confirmed that a total of one hectare of the 6.4-hectare site will have to be remediated due to the dumped waste.

Land Development Agency chief executive David Dawes said the waste was due to be removed between April and July, depending on works approvals. ''The largest amount of contaminated material is in an old dam site which is believed to have been used as an unofficial dump by builders and residents during the 1950s,'' he said.

''The area of the dam is approximately 5000 square metres and about 2.5 metres deep and represents about half of the total area where contaminated material exists. The remaining locations where material has been dumped are scattered around the site and in total it is expected that there is in the order of 4000 cubic metres of contaminated soil to be removed.''

The site - known as Section 5, Campbell - is bordered by Anzac Park East to the west, Constitution Avenue to the south-west, Creswell Street to the south-east, Chowne Street to the east and Page Street to the north. It runs parallel to Anzac Parade and is across the road from the new ASIO building. There will be disruptions to traffic due to the remediation. The Land Development Agency has said Anzac Day ceremonies will not be affected.

The block is owned by the ACT government but because it is designated land, any development on it will have to be approved by the National Capital Authority. The authority has received an application for works approval and took submissions on it until Friday.

Mr Dawes said the agency also had to wait to see whether the development would get the green light from the Commonwealth under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

The development needs approval under the act as it could impinge on the habitat of the endangered golden sun moth and because of its proximity to Anzac Parade and any potential impact on the Parliament House vista. A decision on that is due in mid-

April. The development proposal is for 25-metre-high buildings along Constitution Avenue, with heights of 19 metres, 13 metres and 10 metres along Anzac Park East. About 3.4 hectares will be left as open space.

A report on the remediation plan prepared by Douglas Partners for the Land Development Agency recommends that daily air-monitoring be undertaken during the remediation works to confirm no asbestos fibres are leaving the area.

There will also be a mobile water cart on site full-time and ''if [an] unacceptable level of dust is generated, works will be halted and additional dust suppression techniques will be employed''.

It's proposed the remediation work would take place between 7am and 6pm from Monday to Saturday.

''Contaminated soil will be removed to an appropriately licensed waste facility in accordance with the waste disposal plan approved by the ACT Environmental Protection Unit,'' Mr Dawes said.

Should works approval be given, the Land Development Agency will go to a public tender process to determine the contractor for the development.

A start on construction is expected next year.

Campbell residents have raised concerns about increased traffic in the area, not only from the housing development but the pending occupation of the new ASIO building in Constitution Avenue.

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