STIRLING council has sold off public land without testing if it’s contaminated, despite the site’s historic use as a petrol station.
Stirling flogged the strip of land at 80 Walcott Street to a neighbouring owner in August (“Call for developer contact to be listed,” Voice, September 22, 2018).
The council has owned the site for decades but never reported it to the Department of Environmental Regulation as a potential contaminated site, which could’ve put a hitch in plans to sell.
The Contaminated Sites Act 2003 requires “suspected contaminated sites [to] be reported to the DER, investigated, and if necessary, cleaned up”.
One resident long-termer, who owned petrol bowsers himself, believes there are still buried tanks that are likely to have leaked because of their age.
“They’ll have to excavate the tanks and take all the soil away.”
Concerns about the site’s history as a servo were raised with councillors ahead of the vote.
Deputy mayor David Lagan later confirmed to the Voice: “I voted against the sale as in my opinion there remained some unanswered questions around the history of the block and its previous use”.
The city’s acting CEO Michael Littleton said they’d looked into land title documents from the 80s “and no disclosures were noted” (although, that was two decades before the Contaminated Sites Act 2003 existed).
He said an additional search of the DER’s contaminated sites database “showed no contamination listing” for the lot.
Many contaminated sites aren’t on the list because no one ever declared them.
by DAVID BELL