Redevelopment on track: Action from a Western Sydney Wanderers v Perth Glory match at Pirtek Stadium last season. Photo: Cameron SpencerThe NSW government is confident asbestos contamination at Pirtek Stadium will not delay the start of construction on the new $300 million Western Sydney Stadium at Parramatta.
Planning approval for the 30,000-seat stadium is expected to come through by the end of next month and with the government close to choosing which of the final three construction companies will be awarded the project, demolition is expected to start early next year.
The site of the proposed state-of-the-art rectangular stadium is peppered with asbestos contamination as a result of its history as a dumping ground for construction manufacturer James Hardie, with the Environment Impact Statement warning it could pose an “unacceptable risk to future site users/workers if not appropriately managed”.
It will fall to the successful bidder – down to shortlisters Brookfield Multiplex, John Holland or Lendlease – to draw up a detailed asbestos management plan in accordance with environment and planning laws.
Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres said on Thursday he was confident the safe removal of the contaminated material, understood to be about three tonnes worth of soil on filled-in sites, would not affect the project’s timeline.
“At this stage we’re not envisioning any delays, we knew there would be contamination in the site, we’d planned for that. You’re never quite sure of what all the contamination is going to be, but we built that into our timelines,” Ayres said.
“We will undertake demolition of the new stadium early in the new year and that’s consistent with what we’d planned previously. We’re very close to finalising the contracts, when that’s completed we’ll be out in the public domain telling everyone who’s building the new stadium.”
The project’s EIS, published in July, identified a long list of contaminated areas within the redevelopment zone and also singled out the Parramatta Swimming Centre for further testing, once it shuts its doors to the public ahead of the rebuild.
“Asbestos impacts in soil, in the form of friable fibre bundles, weathered cement fragments and non‐friable (bonded) ACM, have been identified in fill material within the study area during the previous and current investigations. The asbestos in soil impacts have the potential to represent an unacceptable risk to future site users/workers if not appropriately managed,” the EIS reported.
“Sampling locations with identified concentrations of asbestos … are generally associated with elevated areas of the study area, including the north and south spectator areas of the existing stadium; the raised former practice field to the south of the stadium; a landscaped mound at the northern extent of the study area; and a filled existing carparking area at the west of the study area.
“However, it is noted that asbestos in soil has also been identified at several isolated sampling locations within the carpark in the northern portion of the study area and also one location to the south‐east of the stadium.”
The minister said the contamination was foreshadowed from the beginning and would not impact construction or budget timelines, nor plans by the Western Sydney Wanderers and Parramatta Eels to give chairs from the current stadium to members as souvenirs.
“No hazardous material has been identified in the existing stadium structure,” a spokesperson said.
“Mitigation strategies will be implemented to manage a small amount of asbestos which was disposed underground before the original stadium was built. The successful contractor will be required to maintain strict environmental controls to remove the asbestos as detailed in the EIS.
“There is no impact to project delivery timelines and no impact to the recycling of assets from within the stadium from the work.”
The EIS reports that investigators could not access the swimming centre at the time of the site investigation.
“Based upon the conceptual site contamination model as presented in this assessment, it is considered likely that contamination issues within this site portion will be consistent with those identified for the balance of the project site, primarily being asbestos impacts,” the report states.
The new stadium is due to open in 2019.
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