Storyline Spotlight - The Development Site Saga (Nov - Dec)

StorylineSpotlight.jpgThe Summer Bay Development Scare of 2008 was one of the most compelling storylines in recent years. Not only did it endanger people's safety, it had answered the one question on their minds. Why was there such a high cancer rate in Summer Bay?

For years, a large plot of land beside the Caravan Park had been uninhabited. Many residents from the surrounding area traveled through that plot as a shortcut to town. But what people weren't realizing was that they were walking on a toxic waste dump, a well kept secret, thanks to the council.

Environmental Officer Murray contacted ex-journalist/photographer Belle, who was struggling to find something she was passionate about, and told her his suspicions about the potential development and how it was dangerous for everybody in Summer Bay. Belle was astonished when she learned that illegal waste was dumped, and this was enough reason for her to get involved and help stop the development from going ahead.

Belle organized a meeting at the Surf Club to inform people about the potential health risk this development may cause. But Irene shot her suspicions down and told Belle that Murray may have a grudge against the council.

At the council meeting, residents were assured that the development plot was clean and they had no reason to worry. The council supplied proof of this by announcing the results of soil samples tested for toxic material. No harmful substances were found on the site. Murray was suspicious of this because he had ordered many soil samples, and he thought it was fishy that they chose that exact time to reveal them.

Murray organised a protest at the development site but when he failed to turn up, things got out of hand and Belle was arrested by her boyfriend Angelo. He got the charges against her dropped though and gave her Murray's address so she could find out why he hadn't showed. Whe she go there though, Murray had disappeared. Angelo did some digging and found out that Murray had received $20,000 into his account just before he disappeared.

Belle met with the wife of a man who worked for the Council in the Hospital and got talking to them both. He told her that toxic waste had been dumped there and that they were all told to 'put up or shut up'. The man was now dying of cancer and told Belle he believed it was possible that his illness was related to the toxic waste. With this evidence being exactly what she needed, Belle got hold of Angelo for him to talk to but by the time they got to the Hospital he'd sadly died.

Disappointed Belle went back to Alf and told him what the colleague had said and Alf responded that the worker in question was a good, honest bloke so he gave her the name of an ex colleague called Arthur who worked in archives and said she could his name if she needed to. She went to the offices and tried to blag her way in but was told told she had to make an official request. Taking a chance she snuck past the worker into archives only to find that the files for the year in question had been removed.

Meanwhile Annie and Jai were doing a science project monitoring ferns in the area and Annie told Belle in passing that the ferns she and collected, from near the development site, contained really high levels of arsenic. Belle researched on the computer an found that arsenic was known to cause cancer and Belle was struck with the horrific thought that Flynn, Martha, Colleen and numerous other cancer sufferers had lived off that path for years and she began to wonder if there was a link. She went to Rachel, who initially refused to help her but Rachel then went to see Leah to talk through Belle's theory and Leah told her that Alf, the longest resident at the caravan park had had a brain tumour and that Vinnie, who grew up on that road, had got testicular cancer at a young age. Rachel then presented Belle with a list of names and told her to read into it and do with it what she would.

Meanwhile Aden had started working at the building site and stole plans from the offices showing a secret shaded area but whe elle received a call sayng that Aden as injured and arrived at the site to find it was a prank, she realised it had been a ruse to get her out of the house and that the plans had been stolen. She later received a phone call telling her that she and her boyfriend would be in danger if she didn't drop it.

Here's what some of our members have to say regarding this storyline...

I didn't think Rachel would come around in the end, so I was pleasantly surprised when she showed up with the list of names. This development storyline just became a lot more interesting. If this comes to a head soon, I hope that some of the past characters do come back. (Jen)

The toxic dump and the council official has set up written all over it. The officials looked far too smug, although Murray does look a bit suspect as well. He does need to do a better job of getting his evidence. Belle will come to the rescue and save the day at the eleventh hour as in all good soaps. (Bareefan)

Belle and Murray and the toxic dump are not really taking off yet but you have to feel for the cop who has to arrest his girlfriend. I think she is going to give him a hard time over this. (chatter box)

Belle isn't that convincing in the toxic dump thing, which seems to be a rip off of the one they did with Josie and Martha's Dad.

The toxic dump is developing in a way which will give Belle a new lead and will also get Angelo's detective's nose twitching I hope. It looks like someone has gone to a lot of trouble to get rid of Murray. Belle the crusader will not let this go now and I hope that we see some proper investigative work being done. (chatter box)

Belle is starting to get her fire and passion back which is great. Shes a feisty character and it looks like this toxic waste story could be just what she needs.

With thanks to Cal and JackWilkins.