Lead found on Margaret Mahy playground site

Contractors are removing hazardous material from the site of the proposed Margaret Mahy playground as part of of site ...
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Contractors are removing hazardous material from the site of the proposed Margaret Mahy playground as part of of site remediation work.

Hazardous material including lead have been found on the site of a planned multi-million-dollar family playground.

Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) Acting Director Baden Ewart said the Margaret Mahy Family Playground in Christchurch would need to be an absolutely safe environment for families to use.

"Knowing what used to be on this site [Centennial Pool], we were not surprised to find small remnants of hazardous material," Ewart said. 

Lead had been found in one isolated case, and would be thoroughly dealt with in the remediation work.

"Following technical advice, and conforming with national environmental standards, the most effective strategy to ensure the safety of the land is a combination of excavating and removing the soil and gravel where hazardous material is found, or burying it well below ground."

The cost of remediation work was about $1 million, which was part of the project budget.

Work was underway to have one of the world's largest outdoor play areas open in time for the Christmas holidays, Ewart said. The playground would have access to a cafe, picnic areas and an amenities block, and would be a short walk from the Manchester St bus super stop and the new Bus Interchange on Lichfield Street.

The playground is about one hectare of a 2.5ha block bound by the Avon River, and Manchester, Madras and Armagh streets. Development of the whole block would cost $20 million, of which $3 million was for the installation of playground equipment such as slides, flying foxes, climbing nets, towers, water play facilities, and playground surfacing.

A contract for main works on the playground was expected to be awarded next month.

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