Popular eastern suburbs beach closes for asbestos investigation

Published Date
News Topic
Beaches & Lifeguards
Little Bay Beach

Little Bay Beach in Sydney’s eastern suburbs is closing to the public for up to two weeks from Monday 26 April 2021.

The temporary closure will allow Randwick City Council to safely complete a detailed site investigation and help better understand the location, source and extent of historic asbestos containing materials found onsite.

Asbestos containing materials were first found on the beach in August 2020. Since this time, Randwick Council has been regularly inspecting and removing material from the beach and surrounding rocks.

More than 1,000 pieces of bonded (mainly fibrous cement sheeting) have been found indicating an ongoing source of contamination, potentially from nearby creek gullies where old building material may have been buried.

The results of the detailed site inspection will help inform immediate and long-term plans for the ongoing management of Little Bay Beach.

Signs were installed at the beach in 2020 advising beach-goers not to touch or pickup any material that may look like ACM.

The beach has been regularly cleared by a licensed asbestos assessor under the NSW Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 to not pose an unacceptable risk to health and safety during normal use.

Map showing location of beach closure.

Detailed site investigation

The works will take place from Monday 26 April 2021 and the beach will reopen to the public over the weekends. Every effort will be made to complete the works and re-open the beach as soon as possible, however, the two-week program is required to provide contingency for potential delays that may result from poor weather or tidal movements.

Council understands the importance of the beach to the local community and visitors alike. The proposed works program for the detailed site inspection is the result of careful planning by Council and its external expert consultants to ensure that the works are completed as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The works will be undertaken by Council’s specialist contractors, RMA Group and Trinitas Group, and includes excavation of around 45 test pits to collect soil samples for testing and analysis at an accredited laboratory.

A small excavator will be used to dig the test pits and will be driven, under supervision, to and from the works site each morning and early evening. A safety management plan has been developed for the excavator’s travel to and from the works site.

The proposed hours of work are 7am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, weather permitting. Work will not be undertaken on weekends.

Signage at Little Bay Beach.

Safeguarding Aboriginal heritage and the environment

Safeguarding Aboriginal heritage and the environment are top priorities and the works program has been carefully designed to minimise any impacts to Little Bay Beach and surrounding areas.

Council is also collaborating with the La Perouse Aboriginal Local Land Council to ensure the Aboriginal midden located on the beach is protected.

The beach will be reinstated to its original condition at the end of each day, including backfilling test pits.

Keeping the community safe

A range of measures are being implemented to ensure the safety of contractors and the community. These include a site supervisor during work hours, the installation of signage and safety fencing around the site and the implementation of appropriate asbestos management measures such as air monitoring.

Outside the closure of the beach, Council does not anticipate the works to impact site neighbours or the broader community.

Council and its contractors will continue to work with stakeholders to ensure the work is undertaken in a way that minimises impacts, including noise, dust and vibration.

Little Bay Beach

Next steps

The soil samples collected during the detailed site inspection will be sent to an accredited laboratory for testing and analysis. When available, the outcome report will be published on Council’s website.

Find out more

This is a complex project and Council is committed to keeping the community informed.

Project updates are provided via our dedicated web page where you can also sign-up for email alerts.

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