DRIVERS of electric scooters and people with walking frames are being forced onto the road by building works at the corner of Marine Parade and Church St in Hastings.
The footpath is blocked by safety fences erected around the $6 million “affordable” homes project.
Work stopped on the 20 homes last year after builders unearthed a disused fuel tank, forcing project owners Community Housing Ltd to have soil tested to gauge the extent of contamination from the tank left over from an old service station.
However, the situation is likely to get worse before it gets better, with the state manager for Community Housing Ltd, Brett Wake, saying more disruption is likely.
A second fuel tank has been found on the property and the footpath may have to be dug up to remove contaminated soil.
“Finding the second tank has really brought the project to a halt,” Mr Wake said on Monday.
He said a final report was being prepared for EPA Victoria that would then direct how much soil should be removed.
Mr Wake said it was hoped the EPA would “clear” six of the units at the corner of Church and King streets for occupation.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to finish them and move people in after we hear from the EPA in late April or early May,” he said.
“We don’t know what to do about the blockage of the footpath and there may be even more disruption to the path to come.
“We’ll be working with the EPA and council on that one.”
Mr Wake said the office of housing within the state Human Services Department had helped finance the soil checks.
Mr Wake said it would take about 12 weeks to finish the 20 units if given the all-clear.
Late last year Mr Wake remained “very confident” the project could be finished with Community Housing delaying seeking tenants for the homes.
“We were about 16 weeks off completion when the tank was found and it won’t take much to finish the project,” he told The News in October.
“It seems a complex situation, but I believe we will get to the end of it.”
Mr Wake said pipes protruding from the ground in front of the homes facing Marine Parade extended under the road “and that’s where the problem seems to be”.
Remediation will include removing and replacing soil on the site and then capping it with concrete.
When completed, the “affordable” homes will offer secure long-term rental accommodation to senior citizens, families on low incomes, and people with intellectual and physical disabilities who can live independently with support.
Dubbed the “Hastings model”, the project is being built with money from state and federal governments as well as Frankston Peninsula Carers.
The 20 homes were originally slated for completion this month.