Work has stopped at the Helensburgh building site which is at the centre of a contamination scare.
Wollongong Councillor Greg Petty claims at least 10 have people diagnosed with some form of cancer, all living in the 16 properties around the alleged contamination at 98a Parkes Street
He also supports neighbouring residents claims since work started in January to develop the property, a foul odour has emanated from the land.
Ward One Councillor Petty has written to Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s office and to Minister for Local Government Gabrielle Upton, calling on them to stop work at the site, and meet with neighbouring residents to discuss the matter. He has also asked she bring along representatives from the Department of Health, the EPA, the Department of Local Government.
Mr Petty claims there appears to have been mismanagement of the matter. He claims Council was aware of chemicals being poured into the ground as far back as 2002, allegedly as a termite treatment. It’s believed the chemical used was a derivative of a common household antiseptic which is known to cause health issues when used in concentration. Council believes the chemical may be mono chlor xylenol. There are also fears of BTEX in the soil which is known to have an adverse effect on human health.
“Neighbours raised the alarm in 2003 and it’s believed the owner was issued with an order to clean up the land,” he says. “However there is no record of this ever being completed.
“The owner passed away in 2014, new people have bought the block, and naturally, they’re keen to build the townhouses they have been given approval for. ”
But work at the site has stirred things up and once again, the soil has started to smell. Neighbours also fear the effects of soil run off given the recent heavy rains.
Wollongong Council says they’ve ordered the developer to implement effective sediment and erosion controls.
Wollongong Council and the EPA have been granted permission by the owner to collect soil samples for testing. Results are expected to take four weeks.
Council has also written to neighbouring residents, urging them to contact their doctor if they have any health concerns.
Should contamination be found, Councillor Petty has vowed to fight to have the land cleaned up , for the sake of Helensburgh. ‘I don’t care whose feathers I ruffle,” he says. “I’m only interested in sorting this our for the sake of the local community.”