COUNCIL will spend almost $200,000 to clean up asbestos in Merriwa Park.
The Rural City of Wangaratta yesterday confirmed it had approval from the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to begin the clean-up work, which is expected to cost $196,000.
The affected 250-square-metre section in the fernery area – behind Ely Street – has been closed to the public since April last year after asbestos was detected in soil samples.
It is believed the asbestos came from historic construction and demolition waste.
Businesses and residents in Ely Street were sent a letter this week confirming remedial asbestos works would take place, with Wangaratta Central workers among those most pleased by the decision.
The building, which is home to a range of services, has been cut off from its rear fire escape due to the fernery’s closure, and receptionist Amanda Dowling said it was disappointing the issue had dragged on for more than 18 months.
“If there’s a fire in the front of our building, we have nowhere to go,” she said.
“It’s been going on for almost two years now and it’s taken us this long to get an answer.”
Council’s director infrastructure services, Alan Clark, said works would begin later this month and are expected to be completed before Christmas, depending on weather and site conditions.