This West Coolum Rd property is up for auction. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.
This West Coolum Rd property is up for auction. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.

Ultimate fixer-upper a bargain for buyer with right ‘skills’

RIVER frontage, no neighbours, just minutes from the beach and a seller who says the property must go to the highest bidder at Thursday night's auction.

The 4.12ha block is 130m from a public boat ramp and about six minutes by car to Marcoola's sandy stretches.

But there is a major catch.

It's a dump. And a toxic one at that with any new owner having asbestos as well as elevated levels of copper and zinc to contend with.

200 West Coolum Rd is set to be sold at auction on Thursday night.
200 West Coolum Rd is set to be sold at auction on Thursday night.

Agents who have the West Coolum Rd block listed for virtual auction say "the new owner will require effort and consultation with council and other local authorities to have this property ready for your use".

The lengths to which Sunshine Coast Council has gone in the past two years to have unauthorised fill, which has been found to contain construction industry waste, cleared from the site indicate that the effort and consultation could be considerable.

The council issued an enforcement notice against property owner Michelle Anne Casaubon in February 2018.

The notice said about 7000 cubic metres of fill had been placed on the property and the property was being used for industrial activities including recycling, burning and sorting of construction material and other waste.

According to the notice, neither the filling activity nor the recycling had council-approval.

The council wanted the fill removed and other stockpiled materials gone within a matter of months.

200 West Coolum Rd is set to be sold at auction on Thursday night.
200 West Coolum Rd is set to be sold at auction on Thursday night.

Ms Casaubon, through her Coolum-based lawyer Ray Barber, lodged a Planning and Environment Court appeal against the notice about a fortnight later.

It included a statement that she did not live at the property and it was her brother, Mark Coffey, who had started the recycling use and carried out the filling work.

It also said about 2000 cubic metres of fill had ended up on the property, not the 7000 cubic metres stated by the council.

The appeal was before the court until February 28 this year when Judge Glen Cash allowed Ms Casaubon's appeal in part.

The court heard that during that two-year period, Ms Casaubon commissioned a contaminated land assessment to be done by Buddina-based company Environmental Advisers.

 

This West Coolum Rd property is up for auction. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.
This West Coolum Rd property is up for auction. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.

Sections of fill were analysed and a report compiled.

It was noted in the report, tendered to the court, that at the time of the inspection, the property was not included on the State Government's Environmental Management Register.

That register lists contaminated or potentially contaminated land.

However, the report's author concluded a listing on the register was required and recommended Ms Casaubon notify the Department of Environment and Science.

The investigation found the fill comprised numerous small disposals from "a variety of off-site sources".

Asbestos and other items not suitable for the land to be used for residential purposes were uncovered.

Copper and zinc levels were higher than ecological criteria in some samples.

200 West Coolum Rd is set to be sold at auction on Thursday night.
200 West Coolum Rd is set to be sold at auction on Thursday night.

"The potential for undetected contamination is considered to be high," the report read, explaining the sampling density used was, at best, one sample per 150 cubic metres of fill.

Judge Cash set aside the council's original enforcement notice and replaced it with a new one that was dated just two days before he handed down his decision.

The new notice required Ms Casaubon to have surface-level asbestos removed or buried under clean fill by November.

It also said if that action was taken, the site would need to remain on the Environmental Management Register.

The council has since gone back to court after last month learning of Ms Casaubon's intention to sell the block.

It wanted the court to order that the enforcement notice be attached to the land, rather than Ms Casaubon, so any new owner would be bound to carry out remediation work.

Real estate agent Keith Blanchard, of North Shore Realty, said he had been looking for buyers who had skills in earthmoving and skills dealing with complicated documentation and environmental orders.

"We've had many inquiries from people who say it is too frightening for them," Mr Blanchard said.

He said potential buyers had been given full disclosure of the issues they would face and it was Ms Casaubon's wish that those conditions be met.

"It will be sold to the highest bidder willing to accept those issues," he said.


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