Asbestos found in Katoomba Neighbourhood Centre's yard

Asbestos found in the backyard of the Katoomba Neighbourhood Centre has forced childcare workers to keep children indoors and the centre to find alternative vacation care premises.

Manager of the centre, Kath Harrison, said that torrential rain in November had washed away topsoil to reveal the asbestos, which was bonded material, not fibrous.

She stressed that the backyard had been quarantined as soon as the discovery was made and before any children were on site.

“Our staff by a matter of routine check the premises before the kids come in,” she said. “Our co-ordinator found what he thought was a suspicious substance. We reported it to council and we set about quarantining the area off.”

“Once we identified it we restricted the site, restricted the access. From November 13 when it was found, the site’s been restricted.”

She said all parents had been fully informed and “everyone has been kept safe through this”.

Council has erected fences around the yard which will remain in place until the material is removed. Environmental hygienists and external consultants had been brought it to investigate.

While there had been a “lag time” between council being informed and taking action, Ms Harrison said she was satisfied now that “all of the appropriate things are being done”. 

The centre will close over Christmas but when it reopens on January 13, the vacation child care will be relocated to Katoomba Primary School.

“Council has assured me that we are a priority and it will be remediated as soon as possible,” Ms Harrison said.

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