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Toxic time bomb fears at Sandringham netball development site as EPA steps in

The EPA will test for chemical contamination at the site of a multimillion-dollar bayside netball centre, which used to be a landfill tip.

Ian Royall, Herald Sun
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Residents' concerned over Bayside council plan to turn old landfill site into a netball centre. (L-R) Jeffrey Anderson, Andrew Fairbank, Michelle Hartley, John Lyons, David Reinhard, Sarah Reinhard, Liz Reinhard. Picture: Tony Gough Residents' concerned over Bayside council plan to turn old landfill site into a netball centre. (L-R) Jeffrey Anderson, Andrew Fairbank, Michelle Hartley, John Lyons, David Reinhard, Sarah Reinhard, Liz Reinhard. Picture: Tony Gough

FEARS of toxic land are threatening to derail plans for a multimillion-dollar netball complex in Melbourne’s suburban sandbelt.

The Environment Protection Authority is to test for chemical contamination on the Sandringham golf driving range which was formerly a landfill site.

Bayside council wants to build a development of two indoor and nine outdoor netball courts at a cost of up to $26 million to deal with the shortage of playing surfaces for netballers in the area.

The EPA has also demanded to see the council’s own soil tests amid concerns of contamination on the land on Wangara Rd.

Residents fear rubbish from the former Dunlop battery factory and other lethal chemicals may have been dumped in the site before the landfill operation was closed.

The Sunday Herald Sun believes lethal pesticides Dieldren and Dieldrex was sprayed in areas around what is now Merindah Park to counter an outbreak of Argentine ants over several years until 1971. The area was cleaned up by the EPA about 15 years ago.

But it is feared that some pesticide containers may have been thrown in the landfill site.

EPA chief executive Cathy Wilkinson said the authority has requested more information from the council about its contamination testing methods and results at the site.

212d15b19ac67e4ca530a2fbd7206c27?width=1024 Aerial view of the Sandringham Driving Range where Bayside Council is to build several netball courts. Pic: Google

“The site is on a closed landfill and also adjoins former heavy industry.

“Concerned community members have been in contact with EPA worried there could be lingering health issues from legacy contamination.’’

EPA officers have already started preliminary testing.

Bayside director of environment, recreation and infrastructure Steven White said the council has undertaken a range of site testing at the proposed Bayside Netball Centre.

“(Council) is continuing to work closely with the EPA to establish how the netball centre design can address any site concerns.’’

“Council is currently advocating for the Victorian Government to allocate funding to the project.’’

Residents’ spokesman John Lyons said the council had shown total disregard for the community.

“We’re not against kids’ sport but we do have concerns about the process and how the testing has been conducted,’’ he said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison promised $4.7 million of federal money in March and the council is lobbying the state government to match that amount.

But Mr Lyons questioned the council’s budget for the project.

“Bayside just seems to think money will fall from the sky.’’

1068a0ff1c3d7814cd40cd9278ec9ad0?width=1024 The Sandringham Driving Range is to be replaced with a netball centre. Picture: Tony Gough

The council also faces a potentially legal fight with one of the sublessors of the site.

Pureform golf club custom fitting centre had a lease until 2023 but the council had abandoned the business, according to general manager Jeffrey Anderson.

The main tenant, the driving range, has had its lease paid out but not Pureform.

“The council has just pulled the rug out from under us,’’ Mr Anderson said.

The matter is to go to legal mediation this month.

@IanRoyall

[email protected]

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This Bloody Bayside Council.

All they can do is build Towers filling the suburbs up with Immigrants and changing the face and culture of our Country.

While clogging the streets with traffic and traffic lights making travel around our streets a nightmare.

The skips are all going to the bush; exacerbating the Bush Fire risks.

These Politicians have sold us down the drain all for the the short term BUCK: While using Local Government as their Pawn.

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