$2.4 million lifeline to fix Lismore's toxic landslip
THE multi-million repair bill to fix a landslip, which exposed toxic waste in the heart of Lismore, is to be paid by the state and federal governments.
The landslip in Beardow St, Lismore Heights, occurred in the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie in 2017.
Delays in fixing the problem were first revealed by The Northern Star in January of this year.
The site was found to contain toxic heavy metals and asbestos and was likely to have been contaminated for more than 40 years.
In a series of reports The Northern Star followed the progress of restoration works on the privately owned land and a long-running dispute between the landowner Kevin Allport, and Lismore City Council, which resulted in the council taking him to the NSW Land & Environment Court over access to the site to remove the waste.
But yesterday morning all arguments seemed forgotten as Page MP Kevin Hogan, joined council's executive director infrastructure services, Gary Murphy and Mr Allport at the contaminated site to make the $2.4 million announcement.
Standing a few metres away from a digger removing soil, Mr Murphy said they had been working closely with the State Government through Roads & Maritime Services and the Office of Emergency Management, along with Mr Hogan to secure the funding.
Mr Murphy said the council was now in a race against the clock to have up to 12,000 tonnes of contaminated material transferred to a licensed waste disposal facility in Ipswich, before the Queensland Government's new waste levy starts on July 1.
If the waste can be disposed of before the introduction of the levy, it will save Lismore's cash-strapped council between $1.5 to $2 million.
"Then there's another seven or eights weeks of earthworks and reconstructions,” he said.
"Effectively we now have $2.4 million in the (council) budget.”
A council spokesman said to reduce the risk to local residents, sieving operations of the contaminated material will no longer occur.
"There are several air monitoring sensors located on the perimeter fencing of the work site, which will be monitored for any evidence of airborne contaminated particles,” he said.
"To date these air monitors/sensors have not recorded any levels of contaminates.”
He said council would withdraw legal action against Mr Allport over access to remove contaminated soil.
"As long as access to the site is not withdrawn by the property owner, no further action will be made by council,” he said.
Mr Murphy said there had been no agreement of compensation to Mr Allport.
Mr Allport said he was happy to have the court matter dropped, but he wanted council to pay his costs.
"I just want compensation but the amount has yet to be decided,” he said.