Hornsby Shire Council and its staff have been cleared of all allegations of corruption regarding development of a controversial property on Geelans Road, Arcadia.
An independent investigation, carried out by a former high ranking member of the NSW Police, found no evidence of impropriety or misconduct by anybody at Council.
It did uncover significant evidence of misconduct by parties external to Council, but those details cannot be revealed because that would prejudice investigations being carried out by other authorities.
“I am not surprised by the findings of the report because I never suspected any corrupt behaviour,” Hornsby Shire Mayor Philip Ruddock said.
“The investigation was only commissioned because of serious accusations being thrown around and those staff members deserved a chance to have their names officially cleared.
“The investigations have demonstrated it is simply misguided to lay blame for the wrongdoing of other parties on the Council officers.
“These parties went to great lengths to conceal actions in apparent disregard for the development approval from both Council and the EPA.”
The report makes special mention of the cooperation and transparency of Council’s staff throughout the investigation.
“Council’s staff knew they had nothing to hide and were eager to assist the investigation in every way possible,” Mayor Ruddock said.
“The report has made a number of recommendations that aim to improve Council’s ability to detect and halt illegal conduct sooner.
“As long as unscrupulous people can benefit from dumping asbestos there will always be a risk of it happening, but we will be working hard to reduce the risk in our community.
“We’re sorry the Geelans Road community has been put through this ordeal, but we are mindful that the illegal disposal of asbestos is a challenge for authorities that goes well beyond Geelans Road and affects properties across the state.”
Council is continuing to work with the EPA to seek an appropriate resolution for the residents of Arcadia.