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Health concerns: asbestos

Pandanus Drive residents are not happy with the way demolition of the Reefo's site containing asbestos has been dealt with.Back: Jennifer Renton, Helen Pike, Matthew Trimmer, Boyd Ashton, Evan Searle with Xavier Knight-Gray and Charlie Burford. Front: Jessica Renton, Katy Knight-Gray with Kiki, Mia Trimmer, Hone Bloomer, Ty Reece, Ella Trimmer and Natasha Casey.
Pandanus Drive residents are not happy with the way demolition of the Reefo's site containing asbestos has been dealt with.Back: Jennifer Renton, Helen Pike, Matthew Trimmer, Boyd Ashton, Evan Searle with Xavier Knight-Gray and Charlie Burford. Front: Jessica Renton, Katy Knight-Gray with Kiki, Mia Trimmer, Hone Bloomer, Ty Reece, Ella Trimmer and Natasha Casey.

PANDANUS Drive residents in Cannonvale are outraged by the delayed response and lack of urgency in handling asbestos at Reefo's demolition site which could have put their health at risk.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland this week confirmed the site in Cannonvale contained asbestos - three week's after concerned resident Charlie Burford alerted authorities when he believed unsafe demolition practices were in place.

Mr Burford, a builder for more than 40 years, said he knew what was common practice in handling asbestos-suspected products and he couldn't see it happening at the site near his house.

He said he was concerned about the kids in the street who he believed would be the ones affected.

Some of them had even built a cubby-house from the building scraps before Workplace Health and Safety condemned the site.

“There's a real serious risk that these kids, when they are my age, will be sitting hooked up to machines,” he said.

“This is a silent killer. It sits in your lungs for years.”

Mr Burford hit back at the way authorities had handled the matter.

“There would be a huge public outcry anywhere else,” he said.

“Why is the Whitsundays so different than anyone else in the country? It is not good enough.

“It has probably cost the health of probably 90 people and we won't know for years,” he said.

Katy Knight-Gray lives close to the site and has two children - the youngest just four-a-half months old.

She owns her house in Pandanus Drive but said she was thinking twice about the location.

“I don't want to be around and have our children exposed to it,” she said.

“It really makes me want to leave.”

Workplace Health and Safety spokeswoman Deb McDonald said correct procedures had now been put in place and the site was under 24-hour security, was fenced and all material was to be wet down.

She said inspectors were making arrangements with the owner of the property to ensure an A class licensed asbestos removalist was engaged to carry out any further removal of material containing asbestos.


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