No islanders or staff have been exposed to asbestos fibres at Fort Regent, it has been confirmed as demolition of the cable car station, which is known to contain the carcinogenic material, gets underway.
Changing rooms, toilets and a weightlifting zone were all closed down earlier this month as a precautionary measure after a member of staff found material suspected of containing asbestos within an electrical cupboard containing an air handling unit.
Air tests carried out immediately after the fibres were found showed that the samples met the safety standard of 0.01 fibres/ml. As such, States officials confirmed that neither staff nor members of the public have been exposed to asbestos risk at Fort Regent.
As a precaution, they will be removing debris and the asbestos-containing material in the coating of the walls, which means that the changing rooms will remain closed until the work is complete. Staff are also analysing historical data to further assess the situation and any other potential risks.
The all-clear comes as demolition of the cable car station, which is also known to contain the cancer-causing substance, gets underway.
Over the next 12 weeks, the station, which has been unused since 1988, will be demolished. Local contractor DB Cummins will be working with a UK demolition contractor, JBV Demolitions, to safely remove the structure from the site.
Special machinery is being used, including a 'spider crane' which retracts its legs to be able to fit through small spaces. This crane will be able to establish secure footing on the uneven ground of Snow Hill, meaning it can be used for heavy loads.
The project is expected to produce around 124 tonnes of waste, including scrap metal, concrete and timber. It is hoped that at least 96% of this will be recycled.
Metal will be taken to Bellozanne recycling yard, concrete and asphalt to La Collette, and reusable timber will be left at Acorn, in Trinity. There is also asbestos on the site, which will be sent to La Collette to be safely disposed of. Trucks will transport waste off the site.
The majority of the work is scheduled to take place between 07:30 and 18:00 Monday-Friday, with some non-noisy work to take place every other Saturday between 08:00 and 16:00. This will allow continued access to the Petite Ecole nursery at Fort Regent.
Pictured: The cable car station is now 48 years old.
Measures have been put in place to minimise disruption from noise, dust and blocked public access routes.
A wrap-around scaffold clad in monoflex, a flexible cladding material, will cover 3 sides of the site, acting as a noise barrier.
As the building is mostly made of stainless steel rather than brick, little dust will be produced, and when it comes to removing the concrete and brick foundations, dust particles will be suppressed using water.
Public access will not be blocked, but traffic management and access restrictions around the nursery may cause minor delays.
Assistant Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, Senator Steve Pallet, said: “After 30 years of disuse, we are finally dismantling Fort Regent’s cable car stations, and we’re doing so in a safe and responsible manner that minimises disturbance and maximises recycling. We’ll recycle and reuse 96 per cent of the structures and the very small amount that we can’t recycle will be incinerated to create energy from waste.”
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