$18 Million Lawsuit Filed Over Asbestos Contamination at Greville Wooloowin Development

The Greville Wooloowin development, an ambitious “urban village” project situated in Brisbane’s north, has been thrust into an $18-million legal battle due to a shocking asbestos discovery that has brought construction to a grinding halt. 

The project, led by Dunland Property Pty Ltd, was intended to bring a touch of elegance to the city’s landscape, but now finds itself at the epicentre of a lawsuit against environmental consultants accused of negligence.

Dunland Property Pty Ltd, the owner of the development site at 60 Bridge St Wooloowin, has launched a lawsuit against MACH1 Environmental Pty Ltd and Butler Partners Pty Ltd in the Supreme Court.

The lawsuit alleges that these environmental consultants negligently cleared the contaminated site for construction, leading to costly delays and financial losses.

The legal claim, filed on 14 July 2023, highlights that Dunland relied on assurances from MACH1 Environmental and Butler Partners that the Cedar Woods’ townhouse project, known as Greville Wooloowin, was safe from contamination and suitable for construction.

However, once construction commenced in early 2021, asbestos was discovered in the soil, prompting a complete halt to work.

Greville Wooloowin
Photo Credit: Greville Wooloowin/Facebook

Subsequent investigations conducted in April and May revealed even more asbestos contamination on the site. To rectify the situation, Dunland had to remove a staggering 11,000 cubic meters of soil tainted with asbestos between June and November 2021, incurring significant costs. 

By the time construction could resume, the project’s budget had ballooned from $15.3 million to $24.6 million for the townhouses, which were originally planned to be finished by October 2022. The consequences rippled through the project, forcing Dunland to cancel sales contracts for the terrace homes and incurring substantial financial setbacks. 

The company is now seeking damages totaling $18.2 million, which encompasses increased construction costs, commissions paid to real estate agents for Francis Apartments, sunk marketing costs, and more.

Dunland asserts that the negligence caused the project’s crippling delays, costs, and cancellations.

The claim alleges that Butler Partners provided misleading information in their “contaminated land investigation” report, deeming the site suitable for unrestricted use and suggesting its removal from the state government’s environmental management register. Similarly, MACH1 Environmental’s report stated that “no contamination remains on-site.”

These reports were pivotal in the site’s removal from the environmental management register in October 2019. However, subsequent asbestos discoveries prompted the site’s relisting in June 2021. 

Greville Wooloowin’s development includes 49 medium-density lots, 12 medium-density lots and two high-density apartment blocks, divided into four stages. Whilst the legal battle unfolds, the Greville Wooloowin development remains mired in uncertainty as no defence has been filed and no hearing date set, as of press time. 

Published 7-Aug-2023