24 April 2024

More asbestos found on the Acton Peninsula, section of eastern foreshore closed until late 2024

| Claire Fenwicke
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map of closed area

Another section of the Acton Peninsula eastern foreshore has been closed following the discovery of asbestos. Photo: NCA.

An extra section of Acton Peninsula’s eastern foreshore will be closed until late 2024 after asbestos was discovered on the site.

The National Capital Authority (NCA) issued an alert that remediation would occur over the coming months as a “precautionary public safety measure” on the area between the Medical Superintendents Residence up to the Acton Peninsula Jetty, in parallel behind H-Block.

“The public is requested to stay clear of the fenced area and encouraged to use formal paths, such as exiting pedestrian and cycle lanes, to avoid the risks of further degrading the landscape and exposing historic buried asbestos,” it stated.

Bonded and friable asbestos have been confirmed within surface soils of the area.

The area had been fenced and signposted with air quality testing showing results below the lowest detectable limit.

“[This means] that air quality remains safe,” the statement noted.

“The NCA will continue to monitor air quality while ground remediation works are undertaken and will provide further updates to the community as required.”

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An NCA spokesperson said the authority was not aware of the origins of the historic asbestos on the peninsula, nor how long it has been there.

“It is believed the rains over recent months may have contributed to soil erosion on the grounds, thereby bringing to the surface asbestos that could have been buried for some time,” they said.

“Other factors may include pedestrian and cycle movements and animal digging that can unearth and further degrade asbestos.”

The NCA has removed asbestos from localised hot spots and undertaken temporary remediation along the eastern foreshore in recent years as part of its Acton Peninsula Asbestos Management Plan.

It’s after asbestos was identified in March, 2022, on an informal track running between the West Basin and the National Museum of Australia.

The NCA will be recycling organic matter that was removed from the Ponds in Commonwealth Park to provide a base layer for turf works as part of this remediation work.

The National Museum of Australia can continue to be accessed by road or the Lawson Crescent footpath.

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A longer-term and permanent solution to the historic asbestos is also being explored through the Acton Peninsula Pedestrian Path Project.

This would create a dedicated pedestrian and cyclist pathway along the shoreline between West Basin and the National Museum of Australia.

Submissions for consultancy services for this project closed last December.

The ACT Government also has grand plans for the waterfront area to create a permanent park for events, markets, community events and exhibitions.

It’s hoped this will open in 2028.

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