Hazardous firework factory waste stalls St Teresa’s Garden renewal

St Teresa's Garden renewal Credit: Chris Kelly

St Teresa’s Garden renewal Credit: Chris Kelly

St. Teresa’s garden had long been a symbol of decline in the inner city. After a saga which lasted almost a decade, saw proposal after proposal fall through and residents displaced for an unprecedented amount of time, the last remaining flat complex has been razed and progress is being made.

But the story continues. The discovery of hazardous waste from a firework factory, which occupied the premises before the flat complexes were built in the 1950’s, is set to add to the cost of the project. How much exactly is unclear as further tests must be carried out on the site.

A preliminary soil contamination survey was carried out in 2007 which identified multiple former industrial activities on the site, this included a fireworks factory.

Further in-depth investigations should have taken place on the soil following this discovery; for some reason this did not happen. New plans for the area’s redevelopment were released by the council in 2014.

These plans include the potential for building 500 new homes, with former residents being given priority. Tenders documents were hoped to be issued by the end of this year for the building of the first 50 homes but the discovery of hazardous waste has thrown these plans into question.

Comprehensive soil testing of the area only took place in June of this year and now the council must appoint contractors to remove the contaminated soil.

Board member and Sinn Fein councillor Criona Ni Dhalaigh, has assured former residents and members of the public that the site, which is next to the Coombe maternity hospital, poses no risk to public health but may undermine the construction projects timeline.

The redevelopment has been given a projected budget of €20 million. While the site has the potential for building of up to 500 houses, councillors recently rezoned some of this land for a park and department of housing and council chief executive Owen Keegan said that the zoning may undermine the regeneration of the estate.

By Chris Kelly

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