By Tate Papworth
Brimbank council says it could be left with an $11.3 million hole in the ground and is in need of urgent state government funding.
The Upper Stony Creek Transformation Project is a joint initiative between all levels of government, alongside private enterprise, to transform a 1.2 kilometre section of Upper Stony Creek from a concrete drain, back to a natural state.
However Brimbank mayor Lucinda Congreve said work came to a halt after it was discovered the ground was contaminated with asbestos, which blew out the budget.
“As with many projects in Brimbank, shortly after breaking ground it was discovered that the site was contaminated,” she said.
“The cost of remediation work means the original budget has been exhausted and works on site have now stopped.”
She said the project will meet a premature end if there isn’t further funding.
“What was once a beacon of hope for the west – a transformational project that was destined to be a first in the Southern Hemisphere – is fast becoming an issue of environmental injustice for the west,” she said.
Cr Congreve said the issue extends beyond creating a waterway.
“Brimbank contributes millions of dollars in levy fees to the Sustainability Fund, we carry the burden of landfill and toxic waste issues and get little back in support for environmental projects. We need to finish the job at Stony Creek.
“This is about more than simply rehabilitating a waterway. This is about the west and its people. It’s about cleaning up the historic endemic waste issues that continue to impact on our community.”