Arcadia and District Residents Group

Extract from ADRG’s submision to Council meeting on 11th October 2017 regarding DA 1373/2014 ADRG

Geelans Road is a quiet peaceful dead end road, with its narrow sealed road surface and grassy verges. The area provides for lots of wooded areas and open spaces that will be a blessing for people to look at and drive through. One of the last great green belts of Sydney’s north. However, all this has been shattered by the Hornsby Council – “delegated authority” approving this abomination of a DA/1373/2014 at 22 Geelans Road ARCADIA. For the local and wider community, the approved DA, the resulting alleged quarry and works associated have ruined the air we have been all breathing with crushed and broken down bonded asbestos sheeting / fibres and who knows what else. According to the NATA accredited Lab, fibres can be released when asbestos is machined, drilled, sanded and broken, maybe even agitated as it was transported by trucks passing homes, was not wrapped nor protected in transit via schools and community. I understand that Asbestos is not naturally occurring in the soil in Geelans Road. As a result, there could be a possibility that residents could end up part of a health issue like a “cancer cluster” (mesothelioma- by broken up bonded Asbestos or silicosis – sandstone grinding) due to council’s poor process, inaction, monitoring.

The questions to be put to the Council in an attempt to rebuild trust with the community:

• Why did council not place accurate and measurable restrictions on the time frame or volumes of fill for the site, despite an engineers’ estimate in the DA of 8-10 weeks.

• What correspondences were made between the applicant consultant expert reports and the council officers – it appears that estimates on the DA were wildly inaccurate to the scope of works and went to approval without question by officers.

• Why did Council officers ignore their own internal reviews by departments affected by the application ?

• How could any reasonable person reviewing this application come to the conclusion that the scope of works was appropriate for the stated development ? Even the truck delivery and machine costs on site for the amount of fill massively exceeded the applications cost estimates.

• Why did council approve amendments to the DA significantly increasing its size and scale (i.e. height of land fill and retaining walls) without notification to residents ?

• So, on what basis were the council planners and certifiers/ compliance officers assuring us the fill was clean? How could council officer’s state continually that it was safe when testing had not been done? If it was done, then why was this not reported until the EPA visited the site? Was the certifier only relying transport documents being carried by trucks with no cross check?

• After multiple complaints to council from residents why did council not initiate some form of review and escalate the case internally. Why did council not act on more than 9 formal complaints received by March 2017?

• What evidence is there that compliance officers ever visited and reviewed the site, to ensure the DA consent conditions were being met during the 14 months of works being carried out?

• What effort was placed by officers towards the environmental damage caused by tree removal ?

• Why was there no dust, noise, vibration and silt controls enforced in over 14 months of works?

• Why did the project require the intervention of the main stream media to force a review of processes and procedures associated with this disaster?

To summarise:

On every approach to the EPA, residents were advised that this was a council controlled, monitored and managed site. As the EPA has since declared that the site contains asbestos material 10 out of 10 core samples, it is very clear that council has not exercised safe, rigorous and consistent controls over the site since approval of the DA.

Council displayed contempt to the residents and community in ALL aspects of this project from the approval stage to where we are now. The same can be said for the certifiers’ attitude to the health and safety in the local and broader Arcadian community.

What a mess! No one is happy with this. The more than 70 plus concerned families and residents of Geelans Road, Smalls Road look forward to Council’s OPEN briefing of the EPA’s report and directive to sort out the site, and we look forward to discussing those options with council regarding this DA or not to DA.