For many residents of Shell Cove, recent months have been like living next door to a desert dust storm.
Dust and dirt have been blown into homes and properties from construction work for the new Shell Heights estate, with some nearby residents saying they’re unable to open their doors and windows when the dust is blowing.
Resident Peter Cribbs said people had complained to Shellharbour City Council several times, with photos and video, but had received a “rude and abrupt” response and nothing was done.
“If I’m getting sludge in my swimming pool, then what am I inhaling, and what’s my family and my neighbours inhaling?” he said.
“I’ve asked them about air quality monitoring – they haven’t complied and they haven’t replied.
“We can’t open the windows or doors or we’ll get it all through the house.”
Mr Cribbs said he didn’t get a call back from council – but instead his number was given to the contractor Menai Civil Contractors.
Following complaints straight to Mayor Marianne Saliba council has now taken action.
Council’s group manager of design Max Boenisch denied the concerns weren’t taken seriously, and said council was directing the contractor to control dust.
“Recent site management changes have been implemented to minimise [dust],” he said.
“Council requires developers to have a soil and water management plan,” he said. “Council does not currently [require] developments to include dust monitoring but council has taken up resident concerns and raises these concerns.
“Site management measures are normally sufficient to address the issue.”
Menai Civil Contractors managing director Lee Fahey said an extra water carrier had been brought in and rock crushing had stopped.
“We’ve had an unusually dry and windy period which has made it more difficult to manage,” he said.
He said work would now stop in high winds. But he was not used to air monitoring being required.