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SDRC, centre owners say asbestos handling 'best practice'

Asbestos removal on Rose City Shoppingworld's demolition site complies with regulations, according to the council and centre owners
Asbestos removal on Rose City Shoppingworld's demolition site complies with regulations, according to the council and centre owners Jeremy Sollars

THE Southern Downs Regional Council (SDRC) and Rose City Shoppingworld owner the McConaghy Group have issued assurances that asbestos removal on the centre's demolition site has complied with regulations.

The Daily News received several calls from concerned parties about an alleged lack of proper safety controls since work demolishing a range of buildings began on Saturday morning.

The work comes ahead of a planned $40 million expansion of the centre, with the buildings now gone including the former McDougall and Sons offices and the older half of the Plumbs Chambers site.

Work on the old Club Hotel was expected to start last night or this morning.

Callers expressed concern that workers appeared to not be wearing proper protective clothing when handling asbestos from a number of downed structures and that asbestos fibres were being blown around the Warwick CBD and adjacent Leslie Park.

Concern was also expressed at the work starting on Saturday morning when the CBD was packed with locals and visitors attending the Leslie Park markets and the Rodeo Street Parade.

Contractors returned at 7am on Monday.

One worker, clad in ordinary workwear, was this week observed wetting down parts of structures with a garden hose.

It was understood at least two complaints had been made to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland but the agency was unavailable for comment yesterday.

But a council spokeswoman confirmed they had received two complaints from "contracting businesses", alleging "incorrect removal of asbestos".

"As a result council's Workplace Health and Safety and Environmental officers visited the site," the spokeswoman said.

"They spoke to the supervisor and were satisfied work was in accordance with council requirements and did not need to refer the complaints to State Workplace Health and Safety.

"Council officers noted that warning signage and dust barriers were in place and hosing down of the area where an excavator is working to suppress dust was occurring.

"Plastic-lined bulk industrial skip bins were onsite containing asbestos material - the bins are covered with plastic prior to their removal from the site and transported out of the council area."

The spokeswoman said council staff also noted, prior to the complaints, that contractors wearing suitable protective clothing and breathing masks "were removing potential asbestos material from buildings prior to their demolition".

Work on the site is expected to be completed by the end of next week but could take an extra week if anything unforseen occurs.

It is expected that on completion the asbestos removal process will need to be signed off by council.

A spokesman for the McConaghy Group said their demolition contractors were complying with all health and safety regulations in regards to asbestos removal.

"Satisfactory air monitoring has been performed," he said.

"Council is satisfied with all procedures in place."

The Daily News yesterday emailed a series of questions to Gold Coast-based demolition contractor Bastemeyers but no response had been received by time of printing.

Topics:  city, rose, shoppingworld




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