Camden residents might be puzzled by the appearance of a giant white tent at the old Camden High School site.
But there is a good reason for its appearance.
The site’s developers, AEH Retirement Living, erected the massive containment tent to ensure the safety of surrounding residents and the local environment.
AEH chief operating officer Michael Rabey said the tent was put up after extensive consultation with locals.
“We are using advanced delivery and monitoring technology to ensure remediation is undertaken efficiently and safely,” he said.
“We are committed to protecting human health.
“We are also committed to transparency and so we will ensure Camden Council and the NSW EPA accredited site auditor are able to monitor the activities being undertaken inside the tent on an ongoing basis.”
The tent is 65 long and 50 meters wide – and at it’s peak it is 13 metres tall.
The school was built on the site of an old gas works and all materials from that operation must be cleared from the site.
The tent allows remediation crews to excavate impacted materials, including gas works waste, in a controlled and safe manner.
The tent has odour and dust emissions control technology to treat the air through carbon filters, fibre filters and odour scrubbers, before it is released back into the environment.
Special air sampling bags will be used to capture air released from the tent for laboratory testing.
“Excavation activities inside the tent have commenced and we have robust procedures in place to ensure that works are undertaken safely at all times,” Mr Rabey said.
“We are working closely with Camden Council who attend the site daily for compliance checks and also weekly for a meeting with the site team.”
Regulatory authorities will continue to monitor and report on all activities being undertaken on site, including within the tent.
Mr Rabey said the project team had worked hard over the Christmas and New Year period to ensure the works are completed in February 2018.
“We are grateful for the ongoing support we have received for the project and the remediation works and look forward to working with all our stakeholders to continue to progress this exciting development,” he said.
The new development, Camden Central Lifestyle Estate, will feature two buildings with 54 apartment-style homes and recreational areas.
Mr Rabey said the new retirement village will hopefully be built and ready for occupation by December 2018.
“There are 54 apartments in the first stage over two buildings, and 40 have been sold,” he said.
“We've also had a surge in inquiries since Christmas with site now cleared of the old buildings.”