Coast land owners face $23k bill for dumped asbestos
A Brisbane family with land at Yeppoon will have to foot a $23,000 bill for the removal and disposal of asbestos, which was illegally dumped at their Buccaneer Avenue vacant lot.
On Tuesday, Livingstone Shire councillors spent almost 45 minutes discussing the controversial issue as they grappled with what to do about it.
Eventually the majority of councillors supported an officer’s recommendation to decline a request from the land owners to reduce or waive the disposal fees of $11,000.
Earlier councillors were told the land owner had requested a quote from a qualified contractor to remove the dumped material, which would see them a further $12,000 out of pocket.
Before councillors voted, Cr Andrea Friend called for a division.
That saw Mayor Andy Ireland and councillors Adam Belot, Nigel Hutton and Tanya Lynch stand in support of the officer’s recommendation.
Those who stood against it were councillors Friend, Pat Eastwood and Glenda Mather.
In mid-December, the council became aware of the illegal dumping of asbestos material (between 50 and 75 cubic metres) on private property at Buccaneer Avenue, Lammermoor.
The property owners Ben Carew and his partner Claire Palmer, who previous spoke to The Morning Bulletin, approached the council’s officers and councillors for assistance to find the perpetrators and to help with the clean-up and disposal of the material.
Council officers investigated the alleged illegal dumping and these investigations continue.
The land owners also approached police and lodged a police report requesting an investigation.
“The police have indicated that they will not investigate this matter as it is outside of their jurisdiction,” council documents state.
At Tuesday’s council meeting, Cr Friend lobbied for a disposal fee reduction of some kind.
“My understanding is that the owners of this property, moving forward, will look into fencing the property so that this doesn’t happen again,” she said.
“They’re most distraught by this, and have been distraught for quite a while.”
Cr Friend said the council could have looked at coming up with either a 75, 50 or 25 per cent reduction in the disposal fees.
“On the human factor of these things, it is distressing that someone has dumped this asbestos on a vacant property that the owners were considering, in the future, to actually build (on) and move back to the area.”
Cr Mather cited a council report which indicated it was the land owner’s responsibility to protect their properties if they were not living on them.
“I’d say that we have so many properties that are unfenced in this shire - it would be an impossibility (for land owners) to do that.”
Cr Hutton said while he was disappointed in the dumping that had taken place, he did not believe it was the role of local government to take on these financial burdens.
Cr Belot spoke about his concerns around a precedent being set if the council decided to reduce or waive the disposal fees.
He said there had been similar victims in the past, as there would be in the future.
“There’s a lot more victims than just one here,” Cr Belot said.
“There is a whole shire of potential victims out there of illegal dumping.
“Many, many, have suffered over a long period of time.
“Whilst I empathise enormously with these people, I cannot in good faith extend a reduction on the basis that I wouldn’t do it to the next person, and the next person, and the next person.”
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