Construction crews work on the Grand Atlantic site in Warwick. *Photo supplied
Construction crews work on the Grand Atlantic site in Warwick. *Photo supplied

FRIDAY, MAY 4: The developer of the Grand Atlantic project has been ordered to stop burying waste on the site.

The news has prompted an angry response from local residents who complained to the Department of Planning that the site was being used like a quarry.

But developer Gilbert Lopes said no off-site rubble was being buried there and that he had not done anything wrong.

Environmental group BEST told the Sun that it had received reports of rubble being trucked in from off-site and covered over by construction machinery.

A statement released on behalf of the taskforce stated: “BEST has been hearing that the Grand Atlantic developer was trucking in rubble from off-site as well as trucking out sand and other materials, operating the site as a quarry when we could find no evidence of a quarrying permit.”

In a statement Environment Minister Marc Bean confirmed: “The Department of Planning has received a complaint regarding the burial of waste at the Grand Atlantic site.

“The complaint has been investigated, the developer has been ordered to cease the practice, he has complied, and is now cleaning up the site.”

Opposition Senator Michael Fahy said more questions still needed to be answered about the dumping.

He said: “In respect of the announcement that waste was being dumped at the Grand Atlantic site, we must ask these questions given the lack of information in the Government press release.

“Firstly, what waste was being dumped?

“Secondly, who was the contractor?

“Thirdly, when was this illegal dumping discovered?

“And fourthly, how long will the remediation process take?

“It seems very strange indeed to make a statement on illegal dumping without giving any details.”

One Warwick resident added: “It’s just plain wrong that they should be dumping stuff on the site.

“These waste materials should be disposed of properly.

“It seems to me that it is illegal to just dump waste like they have done on the Grand Atlantic site.”

While another added: “There just seems a total lack of transparency still.

It’s not just the dumping. That is bad enough.

“But we can still not see the plans and have no idea what kind of structure we are going to be left with.

“It simply contravenes the idea of public access to information. It makes me really angry.”

Developer Gilbert Lopes maintained that it was not a big issue.

He said: “The rubble that was buried on the site came from on the site.

“We have not buried any off site rubble on the Atlantic Development site.

“We have brought rubble in from outside but it has not been buried.

“I did not think it was an issue.

“People are just hitting the development and that happens wherever you build.

“I don’t feel we have done anything wrong.”

Minister Bean also confirmed that the Grand Atlantic plans are not currently available for inspection.

He said: “The Grand Atlantic Development plans have for some time been available for public scrutiny and many have availed themselves of the opportunity to review the plans.

Investigating

“The Department of Planning regrets that the plans are not currently available, is investigating why this is so, and have ordered a new set of plans.

“As soon as the plans have been re-printed, they will once again be available to the public.”

The statement from BEST added: “BEST has been aware for some time that portions of the Grand Atlantic file have been unavailable to the public as our researchers have asked for particular documents (text and graphic) only to be told that they were “with the Minister” or otherwise “unavailable. This is an unsatisfactory state of affairs for several reasons, chief of which is that many members of the public are unaware of their rights of access to Development application files and leave off their research only partly informed.”

Mr Fahy added: “Obviously it is concerning that plans are missing and we look forward to further updates as they are made available.”

The Department of planning said a complaint was lodged on April 17 alleging that a mattress, metal and rubble had been dumped on the property. The Department spokesperson said an end date for the cleanup would need to be confirmed.