THE $13 million process to remove loose-fill asbestos from Holbrook continued on Friday with the demolition of one of the town’s 34 affected homes.
After a month of preparation and asbestos removal, a house in Spurr Street was knocked down by a team from contractor Beasy.
The property was among 17 houses to be demolished in this round of works, part of the ongoing NSW government’s voluntary purchase and demolition program.
This week Greater Hume Council lodged 15 applications on behalf of property owners for the additional funding the government allocated to the asbestos hot spot.
Thirty-eight houses in the shire, the second-highest total in the state, have tested positive to the dangerous material once used as insulation.
Greater Hume general manager Steven Pinnuck said the deadline for applying for the extra money had been extended until October 31.
“We’ll be working with residents over the next couple of months to try and submit as many claims as possible,” Mr Pinnuck said.
“We’re trying to help residents as best we can to put in applications we think will be approved and if it’s not approved, well, then we might have to go back to them and have another look at it and see what else we might be able to put forward.”
Member for Albury Greg Aplin said the situation remained difficult for house owners deciding whether to sell their entire property to the government or retain the land and rebuild after remediation.
“That will be a priority for government because we want to see people remain in Holbrook,” Mr Aplin said. “Some people haven’t decided yet, some people have already sold and moved into new properties, some to retirement villages and some have moved away.
“When you take into account inspections, the cost of purchasing properties and remediating land, as well as our allowances, the NSW government are investing more than $13 million in eradicating loose-fill asbestos insulation from the Holbrook community.”
Four Albury properties have tested positive to loose-fill asbestos, the fourth-highest total among NSW local government areas behind Greater Hume, Queanbeyan (60) and Berrigan (20).
Tumbarumba and Wagga councils have recorded one positive result each.