22 February 2024

Work to decontaminate Helensburgh bike park will begin this month: Wollongong City Council

| Zoe Cartwright
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The fenced-off Helensburgh Mountain Bike Track.

Fences will remain up at Helensburgh Mountain Bike Track until it is cleared of any asbestos threat. Photo: Graeme Burrill.

Helensburgh Mountain Bike Park might reopen as soon as April, after Wollongong City Council announced they will begin work removing asbestos-contaminated soil this month.

The park was closed in mid-2023 after material containing asbestos was found in the soil imported to the site and used to construct the park’s dirt tracks.

A Wollongong City Council spokesperson said since the closure the council had been working with the licensee Helensburgh Off Road Cycle Club to develop a plan to remediate the site.

Additional fragments continued to be found across the site during inspections throughout 2023.

READ ALSO Helensburgh bike park still closed after asbestos scare, but it will get back on track

“This hasn’t been an easy site to work with as the parameters we’re working within kept changing with each new find,’’ Wollongong City Council General Manager Greg Doyle said.

“The fragments that were within the imported soil weren’t restricted to one location on the site, and each discovery of additional pieces of asbestos would necessitate we review rather than simply finalise the site’s remediation plan.

“Safety has been our number one priority throughout this process.

“The remediation work will be carried out by an experienced and accredited contractor and is expected to take about a month to complete, provided the contractor gets good weather.’’

Once the work has been completed the site will be reopened to the public, and bike riding will be able to resume on the remaining tracks within the site.

While the work is underway, adjoining sports fields will remain open although the bike tracks and surrounds will remain off-limits to community members.

READ ALSO Helensburgh bike track to remain closed over summer due to asbestos risk

The work will be monitored by independent hygienists and, in line with EPA requirements, the soil will be taken from site to licensed waste facilities for disposal.

Once the removal has been completed, council will work with the licensee, Helensburgh Off Road Cycle Club, to support the reinstatement of safe tracks at this site.

“I’m pleased to say we’re getting closer to removing the site fencing from this area and allowing community to be able to use this space once again,’’ Wollongong City Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery AM said.

“This has been a complex job and one that’s important we get right so that this land can be used in the future and offer a safe space for our community to enjoy recreational pursuits.

“While I want to make it very clear the council was not responsible for the procurement or placement of this material it’s important that this site is rehabilitated and the council and the Helensburgh Off Road Cycle Club have worked together to get this matter resolved.

“I’m grateful to the community for their patience.’’

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