According to Clr. Saville, Asbestos has been found in the Chatswood High School (CHS) oval fill. Over many years, fill has been used to maintain the oval, & at times the oval has been dug up & drainage attended. I am not aware if any soil (or fill) testing was done during these activities.
A synthetic grass oval was to be installed with funds allocated from the Voluntary Planning Agreement (VPA) with developer Meriton, negotiated by council. Fill sampling has revealed the presence of asbestos fibres.
Additional costs for safe asbestos removal are beyond the funds allocated from the VPA, and this project has been placed on hold. Council will approach the local member, Ms Gladys Berejiklian for funding to meet the extra costs.
The following questions must be raised:
a) was any sampling was undertaken previously?
b) is the asbestos throughout the fill or is it in locations that can be isolated from current use?
c) can the asbestos be stabilised or consolidated to prevent dispersal and/or fibres becoming airborn as soon as possible?
d) how safe is the oval for use with or without the synthetic grass cover?
The DET has built a new primary school adjacent to the oval, I am concerned that asbestos is a health hazard, and that young people, being closer to the ground, and in close proximity, are particularly exposured.
A resident has written: In costing the oval re-surfacing project, I think it would have been reasonable to assume that there may be asbestos (the registers show many asbestos buildings on the site https://www.det.nsw.edu.au/media/documents/about-us/supplying-to-us/asbestos-register/site_ar/c8232ar.pdf), and factor contingency into the estimates.
If the main issue is insufficient funding allocation, could we please understand what projects are proceeding using this (or other) available VPA (or other) council funding, in preference to this project (which will have great community benefit to the West Ward and the wider community by expanding this oval’s use beyond the schools)?
We are currently experiencing unprecedented development in Chatswood and I think local expectation is the council allocation of developer contributions to projects with strong local benefit. The resurfacing of the Chatswood High School oval is a key example of such a project.
I greatly appreciate you both pursuing this issue and outcome for great community benefit.
Willoughby Council Response:
a) Council carried out sampling in May and September 2014.
b) Sample boreholes taken across the existing sportsfield reveal that asbestos
contaminated material is located in centralised area of the field.
c) The asbestos contaminated material is contained underground within the solid
sub-base and unlikely to become airborne unless it is disturbed. In addition, the
field is turfed and irrigated.
d) The Department of Education as the owners of the land are arranging for further
independent soil testing. However, as they consider the asbestos contaminated
material encapsulated i.e. underground, the site is considered safe to use for
sport by the primary and high school students.