ALMOST fifty years after radioactive waste was found in Nelson Parade Hunters Hill, the local council has voted to take action against the State Government to get it removed.
The contaminated site at 7-9 Nelson Parade is polluted with lead, arsenic and petro-chemicals but the major concern for residents has been the radioactive waste left over from the Radium Hill site which closed in 1915.
Frustrated and angered by years of government inaction, Mayor Richard Quinn moved urgent waste removal action at last Monday’s night’s council meeting which had the support of other councillors.
“This issue has gone on unresolved for far too long and continues to arose concern and anxiety in our community,” he said.
“The time has come for us to act decisively on this issue and end the procrastination of successive governments.
“Council now seeks leave to institute enforcement proceedings by exercising its authority under Section 95 of the Contaminated Land Management Act.”
The contaminated land is owned by Property NSW under the control of Ryde MP and Finance Minister Victor Dominello but he has not presented a plan to remove the waste.
A spokesman for Mr Dominello’s Ministerial Office said on Monday the department was compiling more information but ruled out previously proposed land at Kemps Creek as a possible dumping site.
Councillor Justine McLaughlin said the decision to rule out Kemps Creek was a political one.
“Low and behold a State election came up and Kemp’s Creek was in a marginal seat and politics trumps public health,” she said.
“This government cannot continue to ignore this or it will cause it a great deal of embarrassment.”
What has also prompted Hunters Hill to act with urgency is a recent report by environmental auditor Chris Jewell which warned of a current “risk of erosion and dispersal of contaminated soil” from the steep waterfront site into Sydney Harbour.
“The only thing stopping this waste being removed is the political will to do it,” Mayor Quinn said.
The radioactive waste is small enough to fit into a sealed drum and it is possible for the Federal Government to take control of it and dispose of it offshore.
Mayor Quinn simply wants someone anyone to remove the waste.
“Hunters Hill has a distinguished history of preserving and protecting our natural and built environment yet, within our municipality, on the banks of the Parramatta River just along from Kelly’s Bush we have one of the most contaminated sites in New South Wales.”