Land of 'Mr Fluffy' asbestos house sold at auction

December 10, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Number 25 Bradfield Street looked like it belonged in a Stephen King story line earlier in the year when it was encased in a giant bubble to keep the community safe from deadly asbestos fibres.

The home was one of a thousand insulated with a loose-fill form of amosite asbestos in the late 70s by a company trading as Mr Fluffy.

Amosite asbestos is considered to be one of the most dangerous forms of the substance because it is easily crumbled or reduced to powder and the microscopic fibres require very little disturbance to become airborne.
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While a Loose Asbestos Removal Program was carried out in the late 1980s and 90s the Downer home was one of four later discovered to have been missed in the cleanup.

The home had been vacant since November 2011 when the owners discovered what they thought was asbestos and a test confirmed their fears.

The ACT government purchased the house for $743,200 in December 2013 and then spent $2 million decontaminating and then removing the building.

This involved stretching a giant plastic sheet over the house and using a special vacuum and negative air pressure systems to avoid the fibres escaping into the air.

When the asbestos removal work was completed the home was deconstructed.

The property sold at auction on Wednesday for $620,000 under the hammer of Luton Properties principal Richard Luton.

Sales agent for the property Christine Shaw said there had been a lot of inquiry for the site as it was zoned RZ2 and such blocks were rarely available in the suburb.

She said she had included a sales information pack to those interested which included further information about the site's history including photos showing the deconstruction of the house.

An information sheet provided by the government also detailed the process of the asbestos cleanup and assured potential buyers the site was safe.

"The process of removing the soil so deep and replenishing the soil, goes above and beyond normal protocols," the document said.

"The soil was removed as a precaution. Subsequent analysis did not identify [asbestos] fibres in the soil."

Ms Shaw said there had been three registered bidders for the site and two had competed for the land.

A crowd of Downer neighbours also turned out to watch the land go under the hammer.

By Meredith Clisby

Canberra Times

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