THE discovery of asbestos at an historic site near the banks of the Peel River could see the council splash up to half a million dollars rehabilitating and upgrading the area.
Tamworth Regional Council will have its first ordinary meeting of 2019 on Tuesday night where councillors will be asked to decide the fate of the Paradise Wells on Scott Road.
An external report on the pumping station, which previously supplied water to the city, found the buildings were in an “extremely poor state and required extensive maintenance and repair” and highlighted health issues with the council asset, including asbestos exposure.
A separate report commissioned by the council acknowledged the local heritage significance of the facility, but suggested a full demolition would be a “valid consideration”.
However, the council’s in-house heritage adviser Clare James said the drift well had “archaeological, social and cultural value to Tamworth” and recommended turning the bulldozers away despite the relatively cheaper price tag of $350,000 for the work.
Instead, councillors will be advised to support a $480,947 option which would see the site on Scott Road developed into a “daytime recreation” area, which would include “ installation of a pergola, park benches and completion of suitable landscaping”.
Three other options were mooted for the site.
The area could have been transformed in to a performing arts facility, however at an estimated cost of $541,043, the report tabled to the councillors deemed it “surplus” and “not feasible”.
It was also suggested council “reinstate the structure” and maintain it as an unused water asset.
The report considered the possibility of reinstating the wells as a potential water supply for the city in times of severe drought.
This move was deemed too expensive and suggested the facility wouldn’t produce a “sustainable yield”.
If the site’s turned into a new park, it would see the wells filled and sealed potentially eliminating one of Tamworth emergency water supplies listed in the drought management plan.
Other emergency supplies include treated sewage from Westdale, drilling more bores and a pipeline to Keepit.