Contamination hiccup for retirement village

CEO of the Ex-Services Home Ballina, Paul Morris, said they hoped a new nursing home and retirement village for Evans Head could still be built at the aerodrome despite the fact the site is contaminated.

The exact extent of the contamination is not yet known, but a full report is expected to be tabled at Richmond Valley Councils November meeting.

Were not looking at alternatives sites, he said. Were still sticking with it. Were hoping to get the go ahead. It has been a long road but were not quitters. Were an ex-services organisation so were used to doing it tough.

Richmond Valley Council and the Ex-Services Home Ballina have already agreed on a price for the site, but the sale will only go ahead if Council approves the development application for the multi-million dollar nursing home.

Mr Morris said any potential site remediation would be Councils responsibility.

Weve basically said to Council you need to provide us with a clean site, he said. So its their responsibility.

He said it was only common sense that if additional work was needed it could increase the sale price of the land. He said Council may have alternative options for the site if the sale didnt go ahead.

If the cost of the remediation and the price were talking about doesnt stack up, they might have to look at other options or change the price, he said. We havent talked about it but common sense would tell you it may have an impact.

Richmond Valley mayor Charlie Cox said Council still wanted to provide the land for the nursing home.

Thats what weve been trying to do from the word go, he said. At the moment weve got a situation where we dont know the extent of the remediation that has to be done, or what its going to cost.

He thought the Defence Department would contribute to the cost of the work if contamination was related to the war effort.

In a normal situation if there are any UXOs (unexploded ordnance) they would have to clean that up. I imagine that would be the same for any other contamination.

Cr Cox said from Councils perspective the nursing home would provide a significant boon to Evans Head in terms of employment.

What were trying to do is add to the sustainable future of Evans Head, he said. The Ex-Services village would mean quite a lot of employment. Its one of the best fits that weve come up with for Evans Head. Its not a heavy industry, and theres no pollution we cant handle.

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