Sections of North Wangaratta Recreation Reserve have been re-opened, following a site investigation that concluded interior spaces and limited outdoor areas were safe to be reoccupied.
The football oval and adjacent areas remain closed, however the football clubrooms and change rooms, netball court and children’s play area have been re-opened.
The Wangaratta Clay Target Club rooms have also been opened and the club is working with the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) on a plan to re-start its activities.
The future of the oval will be clearer after October, with Wangaratta Clay Target Club required to comply with notices issued by the EPA by 31 October.
The Rural City of Wangaratta was able to re-open the rooms after environmental consultants were engaged to assess lead and PAH (a chemical within clay targets) levels in the buildings and play area.
Dust samples were taken from the football and gun club rooms, while soil samples were taken near the children’s playground.
“Results of the report were reassuring and following a review by the Department of Health and Human Services, it was agreed that the rooms are suitable for their intended use, as long as regular cleaning is carried out to ensure any potential risks remain manageable,” Council’s Chief Executive Officer Brendan McGrath said.
“Council met with the user groups yesterday and a draft management plan was presented to the clubs.”
“This is a big step forward for the local clubs and groups that use the reserve and we want to thank them for their patience and cooperation through this challenging time.”
North Wangaratta Recreation Reserve was closed in May this year after Council received a notification from the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) that soil samples taken on the perimeter of the oval at the reserve indicated lead levels significantly above the Health Investigation Level for a recreation area.
Given the elevated results and the potential for people to be exposed to lead, the Department of Health and Human Services recommended that as a precautionary measure Council should restrict access to the site. The football oval and adjacent areas remain closed.