Walka Water Works to partially reopen from Monday 5 December
The site has been closed since February, when widespread asbestos contamination was discovered that posed a risk to the community.
This initial, partial reopening stage will include restoring vehicular access to Walka via Scobies Lane and pedestrian access via Pumphouse Road, reopening walking and running trails to the public, the car park and toilet block. Opening hours will remain as 7.00am to 7.00pm during daylight savings, and 7.00am to 5.00pm otherwise.
The remainder of the Walka Water Works site remains closed to the public and will be reopened in a staged approach as Council works in partnership with Crown Lands to complete remediation works.
We’ve installed fencing, signage and capped specific areas to mitigate the risk to the community. Asbestos air monitoring will be in place during the opening week, and during any future remediation or grounds maintenance within the restricted areas.
Walka will continue to experience intermittent closures while the remediation works are ongoing, which will be communicated by Council via its website and social media. Communication updates will include notice of temporary closures when we mow restricted areas, due to the hazardous nature of onsite asbestos issues.
General Manager, David Evans thanked the community for their patience while Council undertook the necessary work to make Walka safe again.
‘It’s been a long road to get back to a position where we can safely reopen parts of Walka to the community, and we’re pleased to be able to welcome Maitland back to one of its favourite sites,’ Mr Evans said.
‘We’re exploring every opportunity to expedite the remediation and working closely with Crown Lands to do it, and we’ll keep the community informed throughout the journey.
‘It’ll be great to see some of our community groups return to the site too, and I know that there’ll be a few hundred Parkrunners keen to hit the ground running.’
Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Taylor Martin MLC welcomed the partial reopening as part of an ongoing plan.
'Walka Water Works is greatly loved by the community and is one of NSW’s and the Hunter’s most unique public sites, and so the NSW Government is working with Maitland City Council to progressively clean-up and reopen the 64 hectare Crown reserve,' Mr Martin said.
Council experienced delays against its initial timeframe of November with longer than expected lead times for materials and several unexpected, urgent repairs that were required.
One of those urgent repairs came about after officers discovered a well trafficked footbridge over the spillway on the eastern boundary had rotted decking and needed actioning to allow access.
Remediation of the wider site will continue in the future, and Council will keep the community informed of the progress of those works.