Asbestos found in park

KARINA ABADIA
Last updated 05:00 21/11/2012

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The discovery of soil that has been contaminated with asbestos in a Glendowie park has forced Auckland Council's parks department to review its practices.

The local and sports parks department says it will not be accepting any fill from private properties in the near future.

Glendowie resident John Butcher was alarmed to see large areas of Glendowie Park cordoned off on November 10 and was concerned to learn that the soil was being tested for asbestos contamination.

The fenced-off area is 30 metres from the front gate of Glendowie Primary School, which his children attend.

According to Auckland Council, about 80 cubic metres of topsoil was trucked to the park from a private property on October 24 and 25.

It was levelled for landscaping on October 25, Auckland Council local and sports parks manager Mark Bowater says.

But Mr Butcher recalls the dirt pile being at the park for at least three to four days before it was levelled.

Independent public health physician Francesca Kelly visited the park last Thursday.

She says initial sampling from the site indicates occasional chunks of building material in the top soil which have a presence of chrysotile (white asbestos).

"There is minimal risk of fibres being inhaled where materials are damp or have been contained."

Dr Kelly says even if a child played directly on the affected area the amount of inhalable fibre would be too low to present a significant health risk.

Council staff have visited Glendowie Primary School to ensure staff are aware of the situation, and they intend to keep the community informed.

Mr Butcher is relieved by the results but questions why there were no safeguards in place to prevent this from happening.

"Why wasn't the soil tested before it was deposited in a park?"

For updates on the tests carried out on Glendowie Park contact Auckland Council on 301 0101.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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