Sunday, June 23, 2024

Turanga Gardens to remain closed over asbestos concerns

Turanga Gardens have been and will remain, closed for the foreseeable future after multiple erosion sites and signs of asbestos were found, Gisborne District Council has announced.

The gardens are situated at the top of Hospital Hill and provide a thoroughfare for walkers who go up Hospital Road and then down to Valley Road.

This area has been closed since it was heavily impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle in February, says Council’s Liveable Communities Director, Michele Frey.

“We’ve received an environmental science report this week which spells out clearly that Turanga Gardens cannot reopen until funding can be found to remediate the site,” she said.

“Right now, it is an unsafe area for recreational use because the heavy rainfall earlier this year caused significant erosion which has impacted the site and brought asbestos-containing material (ACM) to the surface.”

The area was undeveloped land until Cook County Hospital was demolished in 1988.

Demolition material from site buildings was disposed of in the valley, which is now known as Turanga Gardens.

“This is not a safe area for anyone to walk through and there are barriers in place across the entrances.”

Ms Frey says following the report, Council staff will look at options to manage the site moving forward, which will be dependent on funding.

“We’ll update the public once we know more.

“We understand Turanga Gardens is a special reserve for many, and in particular a very hardworking crew who’ve volunteered thousands of hours to keep it looking beautiful before the cyclone hit.

“We acknowledge you all, and that drives our motivation to find a solution for the community.

“Please be patient while we figure out cost-effective remediation options, and please stay out of this area until further notice.”

The gardens were developed in 2001 by the Turanga Lions Club, with supporting donations from the Williams Family Trust and Gisborne District Council.

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