SET FOR DEMO: Demolition has commenced on the old Mullumbimby Hospital site, with work expected to take six months.
SET FOR DEMO: Demolition has commenced on the old Mullumbimby Hospital site, with work expected to take six months. Jacqueline Munro

The demolition of hazardous hospital site has begun

DEMOLITION has started on the old Mullumbimby Hospital site, with work expected to last six months.

The site, which is contaminated with asbestos, was purchased by Byron Shire Council from the NSW Government for $1 in May 2017.

SET FOR DEMO: Demolition has commenced on the old Mullumbimby Hospital site, with work expected to take six months.
SET FOR DEMO: Demolition has commenced on the old Mullumbimby Hospital site, with work expected to take six months. Jacqueline Munro

Byron Shire Council released a statement yesterday, announcing remediation plans, which will include the demolition of the existing buildings and removal of asbestos and contaminated material.

The statement reads: "Council acknowledges that the hospital has sentimental value to the community, but the long-term health and safety of residents also needs to be considered and the buildings are therefore being demolished”.

"As a former hospital there is a well-documented history of contamination, including asbestos, on the four hectare site and this needs to be remediated prior to the land being used for any other purpose.”

Local company Tweed Coast Demolition and Excavations have been contracted to complete the demolition, with the company taking control of the site last Monday.

A spokesperson from the company said during the demolition process, the crew would take extra care to salvage as many non-contaminated materials as possible, such as timber and bricks, to repurpose and recycle.

In coming weeks, scaffolding and a large 'tent' will be erected on site to contain the asbestos removal works, negative air units will be set up to set a negative pressure system within the 'tents' to enable safe asbestos removal and to contain any potential fibres from being released.

The decision to demolish the site has been contentious, with many Mullumbimby residents calling for the building to be kept intact.

As the company commenced work on Monday, Mullumbimby residents gathered outside the site in a vigil to 'pay homage' to the former hospital.

Byron Shire Council said an agreement had been made between the council and the NSW Government, and any development on the site will include community use and a range of housing.

Plans for the new site are expected to be developed and put before the council in early 2019.