Camellia asbestos plant plan withdrawn

The controversial plan to build a waste treatment plant on a Camellia site formerly used by James Hardie to manufacture asbestos has been withdrawn by the applicant.

The proposed waste plant on a seven-hectare site on the Parramatta River bank would have processed up to 150,000 tonnes of garbage a year.

It drew wide-spread condemnation from residents, local politicians and Parramatta Council.

State Parramatta MP Geoff Lee said Remondis’ decision not to go ahead with the development was ‘‘common sense’’.

‘‘The news that the proposed alternative waste treatment facility has been withdrawn is a huge victory for the Parramatta community,’’ he said.

‘‘This has been a very divisive issue and one that the community and I have worked together on to bring about a realisation that this proposal just doesn’t stack up.

‘‘There were more than 260 public submissions, mostly objecting to the proposal.

‘‘Parramatta Council and I both put in objections on behalf of the community as well.

‘‘There was never any logic to this proposal.

‘‘It would see an increase of heavy traffic movements in the area and a proliferation of fumes and dust for surrounding businesses and residents.

“The fact there was a childcare centre right next door added to the stupidity.

“The withdrawal by Remondis is welcomed and I ask that Remondis and no other party ever consider lodging an application on this site for a similar proposal.’’

The development application was made under the former government’s Part 3A planning process, which was rescinded by the O’Farrell government.

Dr Lee had previously said that he would prefer to see a housing precinct built on the former James Hardie site.

Residents’ submissions were mostly against the plan for perceived smells and dust they believed would be emitted by the plant.

The council’s submission to the Remondis application was also against the operation.

‘‘Parramatta strongly objects to this proposal and any proposal that may damage the capping over the highly contaminated site,’’ it said.

‘‘The proposed development is contrary to council’s long-term vision for the Camellia Precinct and the council urges the department to refuse this application.’’

The council’s 2011-1026 strategy earmarked Camellia for use as an ‘‘advanced construction and energy’’ precinct.

The site remains highly contaminated by asbestos and the ground was capped in concrete to contain the deadly dust when James Hardie vacated.

Initial assessments by Remondis said that it was possible to build on the concrete cap without rupturing it and releasing asbestos.

Remondis is yet to comment on why the plans were withdrawn.

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