Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

Victoria Park playground to be closed for clean up

Victoria Park playground to be closed for clean up

Auckland City is closing the Victoria Park playground after receiving soil test results which show new evidence of high levels of contaminants under trees near the playground.

Soil testing was undertaken at the park after a council desktop study identified the land as potentially contaminated due to its proximity to the former Beaumont Street gas works.

The latest results show high levels of the chemical, benzo-a-pyrene. Benzo-a-pyrene is a suspected human carcinogen and is found in coal, diesel and crude oil. It is often associated with gas works waste.

Having analysed the results, the council will this afternoon close the tree area and the adjacent playground.

Deputy Mayor Dr Bruce Hucker says this is being done so that the area can be cleaned up immediately.

“The council is a responsible landowner and we take our obligations to provide a safe environment for the public very seriously.

“The playground will be fenced off and our top priority is to ensure that this area is cleaned up so that people can use it freely in future.”

The latest soil tests were taken as part of preparations to remediate the playground area following earlier tests done in 2004 and 2005.

The earlier results showed moderate contamination in isolated areas of the playground area.

A risk assessment was done and recommendations for interim remediation measures were followed. This involved isolating contaminated areas with barrier matting, topsoil and bark to limit exposure for users.

Dr Hucker says, “These interim measures have offered protection for users of the playground and have served to limit potential health risks.

“In the interests of finding a long-term solution the council had planned to fully remediate the playground area in the new year. However, these latest test results show contamination at a much higher level under the trees and we need to act now.

“As a precautionary measure the council is closing the area, including the playground in preparation for remediation,” Dr Hucker says.

Auckland City adopted a similar precautionary approach when it discovered contaminated soil at a number of childcare facilities operating on council-owned land earlier in the year.

The council forwarded the latest soil test results for the Victoria Park playground to independent medical expert Dr Tim Sprott.

Dr Sprott’s advice is that the levels of benzo-a-pyrene found under the trees near the playground present some risk over time, but it is likely to be small for individuals using the area.

He says the likelihood is that adults and children will have spent small amounts of time in the area and would therefore have had limited exposure to any contaminants. Nor are they engaged in more risky behaviour such as growing and eating food from the contaminated soil.

This assessment is based on risk modelling considering children 0 to 6 years of age who have used the site moderately intensively for 140 days a year and have eaten a reasonable amount of soil on site. This is regarded as being a conservative model and is in line with council’s precautionary approach.

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service has indicated that, based on the information it has received to date, it is satisfied with the approach Auckland City is taking, although it is seeking further information for expert review.

Dr Hucker says, “The advice from Dr Sprott is reassuring because it means that while the health risk is not zero, it is likely to be low for individuals.

“We also need to be aware that we are all exposed to potential cancer-causing agents, from a variety of sources, every day. So it is likely that exposure to contaminated soil in Victoria Park will have very little impact on our lifetime cancer risk.

”I would therefore reassure the public that they do not need to be unduly concerned.”

Remediation works in the playground area will begin immediately and will involve isolating contaminated soil in this area of the park with a barrier mat and then adding a half-metre layer of clean protective material over the area.

The council is investigating ways to do the remediation works while ensuring they do not adversely impact on the large protected trees near the playground.

The remediation works are expected to take up to eight weeks and will be followed by work to upgrade the playground. The playground upgrade will take a further six weeks and will mean the area is closed until the end of March.

The rest of the park can be used while the remediation works in the playground area are underway.

Other works to improve Victoria Park include the re-sanding of the sports fields and restoring the former Logan Campbell kindergarten building.

Those who want further information on the remediation should visit www.aucklandcity.govt.nz.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Principals' Federation:
End Of National Standards

Today the Minister of Education announced that the Government has stopped the controversial National Standards system of assessment and declared them an arbitrary measure which did not raise children's achievement as the previous Government intended.

"This is such a win for all the principals who never believed in national standards and who, for the past decade, have argued for what is morally right for our nation's young people and their learning," said Cormick. More>>

 

Public Good: People’s Report On Public Broadcasting And Media Presented

The People’s Commission on Public Broadcasting and Media, was crowdfunded and was informed by an extensive consultation, seeking the views of both those working in Media as well as gathering input both online and in person from ordinary Citizens. More>>

ALSO:

RBNZ To RNZB: PM's Press Conference

Prime Minister Jacinda Adern was joined by Minister of Finance Grant Robertson and Minister for Children Tracey Martin to announce the appointment of Adrian Orr as the new Governor of the Reserve Bank and the name change of the Ministry for Vulnerable Children to ‘Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children’. More>>

ALSO:

'Taming Globalised Capital': Why Is Labour Supporting Investment Rules In WTO?

‘Today, we learned the new government has added New Zealand’s name to a proposal designed to lead to foreign investment rules in the WTO at this week’s ministerial meeting in Argentina,’ said Auckland University Professor Jane Kelsey. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politics Of Scaring Voters Back Into Line

Fear has always been a useful mobilising tool in politics… yet in 2017, bogeymen of all shapes and sizes seem to have fallen on hard times. For years, the National party had painted itself as being the only reliable defensive bastion against the terrifying prospect of a centre-left government… More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Drinking Water As A Failure Of Political Leadership

It is almost possible to feel sorry for the Health Ministry in their terrible, no good, very bad week... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages