WANTED! A ‘NO NEWS’ OUTCOME
The best outcome will be ‘no news’! Read on to see why we say that.
It’s been a busy news day for SOSJ:
1. We were mentioned by SoJDC’s MD, Lee Henry, in today’s JEP – more on that in a minute
2. Jacqui spoke with ITV Channel news; that should be on at 6pm
3. Dave spoke on Channel 103 this morning.
4. Dave also spoke on Radio Jersey, just after the one o’clock news, and it’s on again just after 5pm
If you miss(ed) the broadcasts, you should be able to catch them on replay.
So, first to p6 of the JEP where Lee Henry is quoted as saying [with our comments in square brackets]:
‘Save Our Shoreline Jersey has been against this project from day one [True] and have opposed it from a number of fronts, whether that be financial, environmental or about making holes in the sea wall. [True, and we stand by what we said.] This is obviously just the latest objection they have. [Not true.]’
The implication here is we are still fighting against the Esplanade development. While we really don’t like the idea (for all sorts of reasons), we accept the building is going ahead and are not opposing it. (NOTE: We fully support those who are carrying on with their concerns about the IFC, but are returning our focus to the ground.)
We are, however, pretty well back to where we were many years ago, even before these plans were a twinkle in JDC’s eye and before people began contacting us with their concerns and asking us to get involved about the buildings as well. We have serious reservations about the landfill in this area both because it is so very polluted (see below) and because, let’s face it, Jersey does *not* have a good track record in dealing with contamination.
When two members of the SOSJ team met with Lee Henry, they were reassured to hear him talking about the safeguards that were, and would be, in place – and we reported thus.
However, only a few days later, SOSJ received calls from the public saying there were large amounts of dust flying over from behind the hoardings on the pavement and across the road as far as the Channel Island Tyre Company.
We went down there and also contacted various people immediately, including Lee Henry, to tell them about the situation. The depts of health and environment got back to us immediately, but Mr Henry did not, leaving us guessing a bit as to the outcome.
Now, the dust in question was, we believe, just from the clean top layer which is about one metre deep. Nonetheless, we were disturbed because:
:: The soil, even at this stage, should have been dampened down
:: The men behind the hoardings were wearing full hazard suits; this in itself is fine… but people on the other side of the hoardings, including children, were not protected.
The SoJDC are assuring people that all safety precautions will be followed and there won’t be any more dust (clean or otherwise) escaping over the top. We hope and really want this to be true.
**If you have any reports/concerns, the hotline number to call is 445808 – click to call; this is for Environmental Health which deals with complaints and concerns about air quality (dust) and noise.
(For complaints and concerns about water run-off and pollution issues, you can call the Environmental Protection hotline on 709535 – click to call.)
Despite what several in power seem to think, we are not making a noise because we enjoy doing it! No, why would we when we do this unpaid on top of our own jobs? (Not only is it all time-consuming, those of us in SOSJ who are self-employed are thus paying for the privilege of doing what should be done by the government.)
And why would we do this when there are other things we’d like to focus on, such as helping find a solution to the sea lettuce and asbestos problems?
However, we are in the position we are in, and we want to see not only more questions being answered, but also the best outcomes.
Here is where we are:
:: The land is deemed seriously contaminated throughout by both the environment department and the TTS. This means excavated land must be stored in sealed pits; these pits will cost £500k-£1m each. (We don’t know who is going to pay for these, and how much it will slow down the building works.)
:: The asbestos in the Esplanade land is currently ‘safe’ in that it can’t hurt anyone there because it is buried. As each pocket is found, it must immediately be sealed; however, it only needs a tiny bit to escape to cause harm.
:: There is toxic ash and building waste in the Esplanade plot – and that’s another story on top of the asbestos issues we’re discussing today.
:: While excavation work is going on, we want to be 100% certain there will be no danger to the public. If it’s only 99%, we need to have mouth/nose masks if we go past the works, or we ask that the area be tented.
Here is where we want to be, so please wish us and the Islanders luck:
:: The contractors do EXACTLY what they have been instructed by the JDC, 100% of the time.
:: …and SOSJ have NO FURTHER NEWS for you regarding this story!
We’re not renegades, firebrands and trouble-makers, so we will keep you up to date, even if posts involves comments along the lines of, ‘They are doing a great job and we have no issues.’
All the best, the SOSJ team
EDIT: PS Ref the Channel TV news item – we asked for face masks (the B&Q type), not gas masks! We can just see it! Like some scary Dr Who episode… [EDIT 22 July 2015 – Here are the sort of masks needed – plain old face masks won’t help.]