VOLUNTEERS are facing the prospect of picking up a bill of several thousand dollars to remove asbestos from Korumburra’s historical park, Coal Creek.
A building maintained by the volunteer group Friends of Coal Creek has been found to contain asbestos.
The friends group is playing it safe and seeking to remove the carcinogenic material, rather than seal it.
The friends are hoping South Gippsland Shire Council may help with funding, but are also seeking a grant from the Federal Government.
The friends have just spent nearly $30,000 on restoring another building and the group’s funds are now depleted.
Friends group president Syd Whyte said, “I believe if the building has an impediment like that we should not be hung up with that as the shire owns the structure.”
The building affected by the asbestos is the former Lands Department office, and requires a total of $25,000 worth of work, including removing asbestos, re-stumping, re-roofing, re-painting, and replacing verandah and weatherboards.
“Basically we are looking at restoring the building close to original condition,” friends member Alex Roncari said.
The asbestos is in the back room of the building and while the friends can leave it there so long as it is correctly sealed, with no fibres floating, they wish to remove it for safety’s sake.
“That will still cost a few thousand dollars,” Mr Roncari said.
“We are looking for funds and any generous members of the community are welcome to donate.”
Mr Roncari did believe dealing with asbestos was part of the “original scope” of the project
“It’s just that when you get involved with it, you see all the extra works that have to be done,” he said.
“Asbestos in the Lands Department building was an unforeseen item. Because it is a specialised area, we will have to get a specialist contractor to come in and do the work.”
Council’s director of development services Bryan Sword said he did not wish to comment until he understood what works were proposed.
The Lands Department office was the third building the friends adopted responsibility for. They have already restored the cordial factory and have nearly completed restoring the Auction Rooms.
The Auction Rooms project entailed re-stumping, changing weatherboards and painting by the friends, while Leongatha building firm Considine and Johnston repaired the roof.
The $30,000 project was funded by the friends through donations from group members and the public, and donations from paint company Dulux.
As group members age, the friends are also seeking government funding to employ apprentices to help restore buildings at Coal Creek while also learning construction skills.
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