Site works spark asbestos fears at Mal’z Deli

Tenant Simon Mackenzie with a picture of the deli as it was in 1933.Picture: Marcus Whisson        
Tenant Simon Mackenzie with a picture of the deli as it was in 1933.Picture: Marcus Whisson        

ASBESTOS concerns have surfaced after construction work at Mal’z Deli in Scarborough started in August.

Tenant Simon Mackenzie’s lease runs out in August 2017, yet demolition on an asbestos shed and fence at the back of his property started without his knowledge on August 3.

Mr Mackenzie said there had been no correspondence from development company Psaros about demolition works on the site, which have disrupted his trade.

“We weren’t even told about it, they just turned up,” he said.

“There is broken asbestos in the yard; the developer should be prohibited from demolishing the house until my lease runs out, otherwise there will be serious health consequences for my staff and customers.

“Customers were coming in and saying they couldn’t park anywhere, all three parking bays were taken and trucks were coming in and out.”

A spokesman from Psaros said the company was unable to comment.

A WorkSafe spokeswoman said inspectors attended the site on August 12 after Mr Mackenzie raised concerns over the removal of the asbestos.

“Prior to the WorkSafe inspectors arriving onsite, an asbestos fence was removed along with contaminated soil,” the spokeswoman said.

“At the time the site looked clean, inquiries were made with the builder and demolition contractor, which also holds a licence to remove asbestos, to confirm the work had recently occurred.”

Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority chief executive officer Kieran Kinsella said the MRA granted approval on March 3 for an eight-storey development at the site.

“Demolition of a building – provided that it is not heritage listed – does not require separate planning approval from the MRA,” Mr Kinsella said.

Mr Kinsella said any concerns about asbestos should be directed to the City of Stirling’s Health and Compliance division.

Mr Mackenzie said he contacted Psaros on August 2 but had not received correspondence from the company, which is due to start construction in the first half of 2016.

More than 900 Scarborough residents have signed a petition put forward by Mr Mackenzie to keep the local corner deli in business, which he presented to Scarborough MLA Liza Harvey�s office.

Ms Harvey said she had met with concerned constituents several times.

“I have listened to the concerns of residents regarding this property and in particular the asbestos shed on the block,” she said.

“My staff have visited the site to get a good indication of the issue and I have met with concerned constituents on a number of occasions.

“I understand the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA) has given approval for the proposed development and I would want, and expect, any demolition or building to be completed within the safety regulations to ensure the community is not put at risk.”