THE Anglesea power station is now a pile of rubble and steel but the questions from the community have not stopped, if the latest Alcoa Community Consultation Network meeting is anything to go by.
About 50 people attended Monday’s meeting at the Anglesea Senior Citizens Centre, where Alcoa site manager Warren Sharp provided details about the demolition and fielded several pointed questions about the smokestack, air monitoring, asbestos, and the Anglesea Bike Park.
Mr Sharp said Alcoa received “fairly polarising” feedback about the stack during its consultations and “there was enough in it for us to say it makes sense for us to retain it” for at least the short term.
He would not agree to provide the raw numbers of people who wanted the stack kept or demolished, saying “It’s not a vote. It’s our stack, it’s our decision”.
Andrew Laird read out a long statement on behalf of Surf Coast Air Action that criticised a number of issues surrounding the two demolition attempts and their aftermath.
“We now have this massive pile of toxic material sitting next to Anglesea that will take three to six months to clean up,” he said.
“It’s reached a point that there’s such a lack of transparency from Alcoa and regulators that the only way we see the truth coming out is in a judicial inquiry.”
In response, Mr Sharp said “more sacrosanct to the community’s wellbeing is my wellbeing and that of my team”.
“To suggest we are generally creating risk and putting the community at harm, you have to accept I am putting myself and my team at risk every day.”
An audience member said Alcoa bequeathing the land now occupied by the bike park would be “being a good corporate citizen”, but Mr Sharp rejected suggestions that Alcoa should do so because the company got the land “at a bargain basement price”.
“If we were to sell it, I imagine we would look at it like anybody in this room. I’m not sure there’s a person in this room that would sell their property in Anglesea for the price they paid for it. I’m not sure why people would expect Alcoa to do that, to be frank.”