The NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and Central Coast Council do not believe there is any need to close Wamberal or Terrigal Beaches, but, Mr Pat Aiken, from Coastal Residents’ Association, said his message to the public is “don’t go there”.
“It was when all the issues were going on with the protection work, and because I was down there, I stumbled over it, and I didn’t actually realise what I was looking at first.
“It has been left for far too long and the EPA has known about it since March 2017, when I made a complaint and called them.”
“I have said in a Council meeting that this Council has a policy of burying asbestos on public beaches,” Mr Aiken said.
“At the time, I was told that that was an allegation, and then they cut out a section of the public broadcast of the council meeting, they went to
a lot of trouble to do that.
Coastal Residents are calling for the beaches to be closed. “We don’t know what degree of seriousness there is with this.
“We don’t know what the levels of beach contamination are, but it is obvious that it is escalating.
“The stuff was dragged out with the storm in June 2016, and from June 2016 up until the point Council buried it in March 2017, who can say
there wasn’t an event that had waves sufficient to drag out that asbestos?
“I think, at the (Wamberal) ruins, the stuff that has been buried is potentially the equivalent of a roof for a small sized cottage, from
renovations, post the storm event, in 1978.”
That land is now Crown Land managed by Central Coast Council, and Mr Aiken said Coastal Residents believe NSW Government money should be
spent to clean it up.
“They have set aside $83m for coastal management, but they will be lucky to spend $30m over the five years, so they have got money at hand
“Why don’t they use some of that money to clean up the environmentally inappropriate materials that have been found on Wamberal and
Terrigal beaches and it is not just asbestos?
“Why don’t they use that money for the public interest and get rid of it?”
Mr Aiken said Coastal Residents believed both Central Coast Council
and the NSW Government needed to take responsibility for thoroughly testing and cleaning up any contamination at the two beaches.
“My complaint was to the EPA and the EPA assured me that Council was going to fix it, so they can’t absolve themselves of responsibility in this.
“I don’t know if the EPA agreed to the burial. “It certainly isn’t buried to
a depth that meets normal protocols and meets the requirements of Council’s own asbestos policy.
“I am not going to say that there is no instance of political motives, but I was very concerned about this in early 2017 and I still hadn’t decided
at that point that I was going to run for Council, and I have had concerns about our coastal management for some time.
“I was very concerned about all the garbage on that beach after the June 2016 storm event. “I made that pretty clear, I stated something needed to be done, put papers together and showed images at the Coastal Conference in 2016 at Coffs Harbour in November 2017.
Source: Media statement, Apr 24 Alison Sweeney, EPA Interview, Apr 26
Pat Aiken, Coastal Residents’ Association Jackie Pearson, journalist