Bathurst Regional Council accused of poorly managing vacant lot on Bradwardine Road

RECENTLY retired real estate agent Peter Ison has accused Bathurst Regional Council of poorly managing a vacant lot on Bradwardine Road, which in recent years has become an illegal dumping hotspot. 

The site at the industrial area end of Bradwardine Road is littered with domestic rubbish, which Mr Ison said could have been largely prevented with simple measures.

“What they could have done is to put up fencing, which they have done at Mount Panorama for the kangaroos,” he said.

Mr Ison said his main concern is that the land, owned by council, has been identified on a list of 391 sites that are potentially or known to be contaminated. 

“The council is the people that control the potential of contaminated sites and here they have allowed, over a number of years, refuse to be left in there,” he said.

He feared that ratepayers would have to cover the costs of any future decontamination works at the site, which his time as a real estate agent has shown is highly sought after by buyers. 

Council’s general manager David Sherley said that council has an obligation under the Contaminated Land Management Act 1997 to identify any land in the Local Government Area which is potentially or known to be contaminated. 

“The Contaminated Land Policy is a tool which ensures that Council takes a consistent approach to all matters relating to contaminated land and that the public are duly informed of Council's processes and actions in this area,” he said.

“The Contaminated Land Management Act 1997 already requires Council to implement the actions outlined in its Policy. The Policy is not an additional burden either on Council or the public.”

Mr Sherley said the 391 sites fall across a number of distinct categories, which are A – Identified, A1 – Identified Intensive Agricultural Activity, B – Assessed, C – Site Management Plan, D – Suitable for Limited Uses, and E – Restricted.

“The land on Bradwardine Road is listed as status of “A-identified” and poses no health risk to the community. The area will only need to be remediated if development on the site were to occur, however the land will remain in Council ownership at this time,” Mr Sherley said.

Littering and illegal dumping is an issue being experienced across Australia and costs more than $300 million each year, Mr Sherley said, and Bradwardine Road is just one site where this is an issue.

“Illegal dumping can adversely affect the environment and harm plants and animals. It also diminishes the use, enjoyment and value of public spaces,” he said.

“Once a case has been reported, Council staff work diligently to have the rubbish removed as soon as possible and attempt to have those responsible for this illegal activity held accountable.

“Council manages a range of measures to deter and reduce illegal dumping and encourage correct disposal of waste.”

These measures include operating a community recycling centre, supporting the Junktion, operating a kerbside waste collection service and providing opportunities to dispose of or recycle a range of items at the Bathurst Waste Management Centre.

Council also encourages residents to report illegal dumping to its environment department, as well as to download the free ‘Report to EPA’ app to report littering from vehicles. 

Mr Ison said that, as there are so many people who want land at Bradwardine Road should it ever be subdivided, council has a responsibility to keep it free of contamination. 

Mr Sherley said “council’s engineering section is currently considering works on the Bradwardine site to restrict access”.