Asbestos found at site of new bus depot

The Public Transport Authority applied last November to establish the $3.4 million depot, including 60 bus bays, an office, four-bay workshop and wash and fuel facilities, opposite the City of Joondalup’s works operation centre and about 80m from the closest residential properties.

The City of Joondalup consulted with nearby residents, receiving a number of objections and a 43-signature petition opposing the development.

However, because the 1.7ha area of land was reserved under the Metropolitan Region Scheme, the decision was up to the WA Planning Commission and the City could only provide a recommendation.

Joondalup Mayor Troy Pickard said it was recommended that the Commission refuse the application.

‘The City made its recommendation for refusal on the grounds the facility could potentially have a negative effect on the amenity of the local area and residents,’ he said.

‘The depot is expected to generate up to 190 bus movements and 150 car movements per day.’

Craigie resident Susie Robertson said there were concerns about the noise that would come from the increased traffic and the visual amenity for residents who would be able to see the depot from their backyards.

‘It’s too close for comfort,’ she said.

PTA spokeswoman Claire Krol said preserving the amenity had been an important consideration.

‘We have carried out comprehensive noise modelling that shows our plan to build a 3m wall along the western side and half way along the northern side of the site will ensure noise impacts on surrounding residents remain well below Department of Environmental regulation standards,’ she said.

Ms Robertson also raised concerns regarding diesel fuel fumes, the effect it could have on nearby residents’ health and a letter she received last week from the transport authority stating that the land would be ‘remediated for asbestos contamination’.

‘The remediation of the asbestos will involve scraping off the asbestos-impacted soil and burying this soil deep within the site and covering it over with clean soil,’ the letter stated.

‘We have been quite shocked to find that there is asbestos contamination behind our fence lines,’ Ms Robertson said.

Ms Krol said the remediation would be carried out in accordance with Department of Health best practice guidelines and included monitoring by an independent environmental consultant.

She also said Transperth buses complied with Australian emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles.

‘Public transport provides significant environmental advantages to the community and contributes to a better quality of life by reducing the number of cars in the street, helping improve air quality, alleviating traffic congestion and traffic noise levels and provides many other mobility, safety and economic benefits to people and businesses,’ she said.

The new depot is expected to be completed within 12 months.

It will supplement the Karrinyup bus depot and run services west of Craigie.

– The Public Transport Authority will hold a community information session at Craigie Leisure Centre in Whitfords Avenue, Craigie, tonight from 6pm to 8pm.