School asbestos removal on hold

Following on from the report on Whaleoil yesterday

Contractors discovered old piping containing asbestos behind the Hobsonville Primary School during development of a new pick-up and drop-off area in November last year.

Parents were outraged after plans were made to remove the soil during school hours, and about 40 decided not to send their kids to school if the work went ahead.

Natalie Marsh kept her two young children away from school today as preparation work at the contaminated site began.

“This whole situation caused a great deal of stress and anxiety for me and other concerned parents. The whole thing is astounding, the school has handled it badly.”

Ms Marsh said the school held a meeting with the asbestos removers in February so parents could ask questions.

But she said the information was confusing and parents were left unclear of the risk to their children.

“We have lots of questions but we haven’t been given many answers. The information we have been given is contradictory. The school has advised us there is no risk and the children are safe, but on the other hand the asbestos removal team told us there is always a risk.”

Ms Marsh wrote to Health Minister Michael Woodhouse with her concerns in February. In a written response, the minister said WorkSafe had assured him no work would be undertaken within school hours.

Today, the minister’s office said the response to Ms Marsh was based on advice provided to the minister at the time.

“However, our office has subsequently been advised that it is up to the licensed asbestos removalist and the school to decide when is the best time to undertake the works. WorkSafe’s role is to administer the legislation and the licensing system for asbestos removalists.”

So it seems Ms Marsh has gone backwards. ?From “not during school hours” to “up to the school and the company to sort out”.

A Whaleoil parent has a child at the school and wrote

Again more emotive claptrap. My children go to that school, and if I thought they were in any danger, I would remove them. However the work has to happen now as it’s “actually dug up so there’s a big mound of dirt containing asbestos in it. It’s covered, it’s fenced off, but it’s not actually below the ground” So actually anyone could climb the fence and get to the soil. The asbestos has to be removed now

The asbestos is non-friable, therefore wont crumble. It will be soaked (wet) is extremely unlikely to be airborne. Asbestos is only dangerous when airborne.

A lot of people do not know that asbestos is actually a naturally occurring mineral. It’s everywhere. We are exposed to it everyday.

The Principal and Board are extremely decent people who have their own children at the school. No way would they risk their own children.

I hope the same people who have attacked the Principal and board so personally can turn that passion into something positive for the school by getting off their behinds and joining the PTC or helping fund-raise in the future.