Early works to remove asbestos-containing material at KCRC
The City of Melbourne has begun early works to excavate and remove soil from the site of the new Kensington Community Aquatic and Recreation Centre (KCRC) after asbestos-containing material was found earlier this year.
The old KCRC building was demolished in May to make way for a $42 million revamped version, which was set for completion in late 2023.
But the redevelopment works were put on hold after environmental assessments identified asbestos in soil samples in July.
While the asbestos posed no health risk, the council said the affected soil had to be taken away by a licenced asbestos removalist before construction work restarted, which was expected to take about six months.
Early works to prepare the site for soil excavation began on Monday, November 14, which included setting up a decontamination area for vehicles and equipment to be cleaned before leaving the site, the council said in its November community update report.
Air monitors and water misters will also be installed to ensure the safety of workers and the community.
However, once site preparation works are complete, noise levels are expected to increase as soil excavation begins.
“After the soil has been excavated and loaded onto trucks, it will be transported to a facility licensed to accept this material,” the report said.
“This process will impact traffic conditions over several months from Monday to Friday. Traffic controllers will be on site to support pedestrians, cyclists, traffic, and construction vehicle movements during this time.”
Trucks removing the soil will be lined and covered, the council report said, with mist water also to be used during the works to minimise dust and wash the trucks as they exit the site.
“We will continue to use air monitors and complete daily clearance certificates to confirm the works are being carried out safely,” the report said.
The asbestos material found is bound within cement, which reduced the potential for airborne asbestos fibres to be released, the council said.
Once complete, the brand-new recreation centre will feature a 25-metre pool, gym facilities, children’s water play, indoor multi-sports courts, and community spaces.
Last month, the council said the challenges facing the construction industry such as building material and labour shortages, would mean “the timeline of the project will be significantly impacted”.
Noise and traffic disruptions are expected to be minimal during the holiday period from Friday, December 23 to Wednesday, January 11. •