Port Kembla residents fear stack fall damage

A group of concerned Port Kembla residents has urged people worried about the felling of the stack causing damage to their homes to organise dilapidation surveys.

Group spokesman Mark Peterlin said they were concerned that when the structure came down on February 20, vibrations from its fall could lead to cracks and other damage in buildings and other infrastructure such as water pipes.

He expressed concern that, without a survey, people would have no way of proving if damage to their homes was caused by the stack's demolition.

Dilapidation surveys document the condition of a building and can be used to determine when and why damage has been caused.

Port Kembla Copper (PKC) boss Ian Wilson said he was confident no building within or outside the 300-metre exclusion zone around the stack would be damaged because the way it would fall - on uneven ground and most likely in two or three separate pieces - would reduce the potential for any ground vibration.

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He said models of the demolition had shown ground vibration energy would be within the Australian standard.

"People are naturally concerned about their most valuable asset, which is in their house, so I can understand the concerns and I don't dismiss them and they are legitimate, but I trust the engineering work that has been carried out."

Mr Wilson said about a third of the owners of the 180 or so buildings within the exclusion zone had taken up PKC's offer of a dilapidation survey.

But Mr Peterlin said he was not convinced buildings and infrastructure would be left unaffected. He questioned how thorough the surveys already conducted had been and said the community should be able see the modelling that showed the demolition would not cause any damage.

"Damage may not happen, but Port Kembla is a really old suburb with lots of old pipes," he said.

"I'm sure that when 14,000 tonnes of this stuff impacts the earth, it's going to be like a bomb going off."

D-Day for Port Kembla stack is February 20.

D-Day for Port Kembla stack is February 20.


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