The NSW Department of Planning will force Pasminco to pay for ongoing maintenance of the former Boolaroo lead smelter site before allowing more development on the land.
The Newcastle Herald reported last week that Pasminco Cockle Creek Smelter, the company set up by administrator Ferrier Hodgson after the smelter went out of business in 2001, says it cannot afford to pay for future care and monitoring at Boolaroo until it sells part of the land to IKEA, possibly at the end of 2019.
Pasminco has applied to remove a condition of its development consent for the site which covers long-term maintenance and monitoring of a 45-metre-deep containment cell containing 1.9 cubic metres of hazardous material.
Its application says it will earn an estimated $57.7 million in land sales at Boolaroo, including $22 million from IKEA and $11.5 million from Costco.
Ferrier Hodgson and the department are at an impasse over how much the future care of the site will cost.
The department told the Herald on Wednesday that the company’s application was being assessed.
In the meantime, it has proposed a new site-specific clause in planning laws which would effectively force the company to pay up.
The department’s executive director of key sites and industry assessments, Anthea Sargeant, said the proposed amendment was an important step in the long-term remediation efforts.
“The department is working closely with Lake Macquarie City Council and the Environment Protection Authority to ensure the necessary arrangements associated with the perpetual care of the containment cell, including financial arrangements, are accounted for prior to the issue of any further development approvals at the Boolaroo site,” Ms Sargeant said.
The law change is open for public comment until July 31 at the department’s website.
The Herald reported this week that Green Capital Group, the developer behind a planned 750-lot housing estate at Boolaroo, had taken Pasminco to court alleging the company had not complied with conditions of a land sale by an agreed date.