A new 10-hectare park above the Rozelle Interchange in Sydney’s inner west has been closed following the discovery of asbestos near a children’s playground.
Transport NSW said on Wednesday the Rozelle Parklands, built on the former Rozelle Railyards, had been closed after “samples of garden mulch” were found to contain traces of asbestos.
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“Remediation experts are currently on site conducting tests of the material across the parkland to determine the extent of contamination,” it said.
“A number of preliminary air quality tests taken at that site yesterday did not find any airborne particles outside of normal expected parameters.
“The initial expert advice indicates that the sample identified which contained asbestos was considered low risk.”
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Inner West Council mayor Darcy Byrne said the contaminated mulch had been found in gardens around the children’s playground.
He said it was “beyond belief” the parkland had been opened with asbestos contaminated materials.
“As a parent whose children have been playing there myself, I understand how concerning this will be for many thousands of local people,” Byrne said.
“There must be a thorough investigation about how asbestos-contaminated material ended up within the park and if it is verified that this was carried out by the contractors constructing the park, then the government should throw the book at them.”
Contractor John Holland sourced the mulch and said it was tested before, during and after installation.
Mark Davies from John Holland told 7NEWS the product was “a commercially available product that we’ve sourced previously”.
Premier Chris Minns promised there would be consequences in the case of wrongdoing.
“If there’s been a breach of the law then, of course, we’ll throw the book at them,” he said.
The 10-hecatre parkland area features two large playing fields, multiple walking and cycling paths and a wetlands area. Credit: Inner West Council
Inner West council has warned all residents to “stay away” from the park until further notice.
Transport for NSW said it was working with John Holland and CPB to find out if the contaminated garden product used at the site was used at other locations.
All impacted garden mulch at the site will be replaced.
The Rozelle Parklands was opened on December 17 after four years of construction.
The area features two large playing fields, multiple walking and cycling paths, a wetlands area, picnic areas and fitness equipment.
Work on the park is expected to continue into 2024 with multi-purpose courts for netball and basketball, plus changing rooms, to be constructed.