Asbestos closes Perth kids’ playground

Peachey Park. Photo: David Baylis
Peachey Park. Photo: David Baylis

A POPULAR children’s playground in Kewdale has been indefinitely closed off to the public after asbestos was discovered at the site.

City of Belmont chief executive officer John Christie said the extent of the asbestos contamination at Peachey Park was unknown.

“Small fragments of asbestos-containing material were detected amongst uncontrolled fill materials such as bricks and concrete in September 2019 when relocating the existing playground,” he said.

The total amount of asbestos containing material is unknown due to the invasive nature of works required to determine the extent.”

Photo: David Baylis

Mr Christie said residents in the immediate vicinity of the park were advised by letter of the asbestos discovery when it
was first identified.

He said the park did not pose a health risk as long as the asbestos-containing material remained buried.

“Asbestos only poses a health risk when it becomes damaged and therefore friable, predominantly when it is being cut or broken or excavated,” he said.

“Appropriate management strategies are being developed and deployed to allow works to continue and to manage the asbestos on site.

“It can be managed in-situ and can be contained or capped by clean fill and vegetation preventing the risk of it becoming friable and therefore removing the health risk.

Photo: David Baylis

“At the time of detecting the potential asbestos, the City of Belmont immediately covered the work area with clean fill.”

Mr Christie said pre-1965 the park and surrounding area was a wetland but in 1974 the site appears to have been filled, likely with uncontrolled fill which contained the asbestos.

“This was not an uncommon practice and inert bulk materials were often used to fill damp lands and wetlands; uncontrolled fill was usually sourced from demolition sites/refuse sites,” he said.

The City is working with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) and Department of Health (DoH) to develop management strategies for the site.

Peachey Park is a large playground with an adventure bike track, a basketball court and a large turf area for recreation.

It will remain closed until further advice and clearance from DWER and DoH is received.