Land at the southern entrance to Cronulla train station is contaminated by asbestos.
Sydney Trains played down the find, saying it was “a small amount” and would be removed in accordance with health and safety regulations.
However, Cronulla resident David De Vere said Sydney Trains had tried to cover up the matter by erecting temporary fencing and covering the material, without advising the public.
I was concerned because, bizarrely, the ground was neatly covered by white tarps and weighed down by concrete powder bags.David De Vere
Mr De Vere said the fencing was erected around the “small, worn out grassy area” three days before Christmas.
“I was concerned because, bizarrely, the ground was neatly covered by white tarps and weighed down all around by concrete powder bags,” he said.
“This was very odd for any ‘construction zone’, and something I have never seen before.
“As a long time resident, I have observed this corner parcel of land being worn bare by passengers taking a short cut after exiting the station, so much so deep grooves in the dirt have been carved out.”
Mr De Vere said he had earlier suspicions asbestos could be buried in the area when he noticed small pieces of what appeared to be fibro appearing as the ground became worn.
“Many thousands of commuters may have been put at risk of contamination over the years by walking over the dirt,” he said.
A Sydney Trains spokeswoman said the asbestos was discovered during a site inspection on December 19 ahead of the station undergoing a “refresh” in January.
”During this inspection, a small amount of asbestos was identified in the grass area near the commuter car park,” she said.
”Temporary fencing has been installed and geo fabric and sandbags used to secure the area from public access.
“We will be safely removing the asbestos from the site in accordance with relevant health and safety regulations.”
Mr De Vere’s concerns were not eased by the official response.
“It’s very disturbing, and Sydney Trains needs to explain what impact there may be for passengers,” he said.