Rozelle Parklands closes after discovery of asbestos in playground

Rozelle Parklands closes after discovery of asbestos in playground
Image: Signs and barricades are placed around Rozelle Parklands following the discovery of asbestos in children's playground. Bianca de Marchi, AAP Photos



Rozelle Parklands in Sydney’s Inner West, which only opened three weeks ago, has been closed following the discovery of asbestos in samples of garden mulch.

The mulch samples containing asbestos came from the children’s playground area, sparking serious concern amongst the community.

Thousands of local families and children have been using the playground since the parklands opened last month on December 17 after much anticipation.

“As a parent whose children have been playing there myself, I understand how concerning this will be for many thousands of local people,” said Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne.

Transport for NSW (TfNSW), which operates the park, has closed the parklands off to the public and are now undertaking thorough testing. The current mulch, which was provided by a contractor in landscaping work, will be removed and replaced.

Inner West Council reportedly wrote to TfNSW this morning insisting on urgent testing of the immediate site.

“It is beyond belief that such a long-awaited community facility has been opened with asbestos-contaminated materials contained within it,” said the mayor.

“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.”

Initial expert advice has indicated that the contaminated sample was considered low risk.

In addition, a number of preliminary air quality tests taken at the site on Tuesday didn’t find any air borne particles outside of normal expected parameters.

TfNSW is currently working with contamination experts and is engaging NSW Health, SafeWork, and the EPA to ensure the site is safe. Updates will be provided later today.

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