Walka Water Works closure
Walka Water Works is owned by Crown Lands and managed by Maitland City Council. Council has been exploring the opportunities for future use of the site and has undertaken condition assessments funded by the Crown Reserves Improvement Fund as part of this process. Qualified assessors have identified the presence of asbestos at some sites, most likely associated with the site's historical use as a power station.
As the health risks of asbestos exposure are well documented, we are taking the precaution of closing the site to the public until further notice.
Council has notified the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Crown Lands, and Safe Work and are working with them to quantify risks and determine appropriate management measures going forward.
Council will provide further updates via this webpage as information becomes available.
If you need to discuss your circumstances, please contact our Customer Experience Team on 02 4934 9700.
UPDATE 8 April 2022
The contamination assessment by specialist contractors is expected to be completed by June 2022.
We hope to start major remediation works in July 2022 after the completion of the assessment phase.
It’s not yet known when the remediation works will be completed and the site reopened.
Both friable and bonded asbestos deposits were found within the soil. The highest risk areas were identified as within the former power station site, pump house lawn, and Walka beach area (image below).
An independent NSW EPA accredited auditor has been appointed to review the investigation and remediation works we are doing at the site.
The new Maitland Administration building is estimated to be delivered at a cost of $30.5m, with associated ground works, upgrades to Town Hall and parking and site landscaping improvements bringing the total project cost to an estimated $45.5m, to be funded via loan borrowings. Completion is expected by the end of 2022.
Car parking including dedicated on-site parking for Council visitors will be located at ground level towards the rear of the site accessed from Devonshire and Grant Streets.
As the project progresses Council will provide ongoing, accurate and timely updates to the community.
Tuesday 7 September 2021
Maitland City Council has unveiled a proposed streetscape landscape plan to reinvigorate High Street in conjunction with the construction of the Maitland Administration Centre and its associated vegetation plan.
The intent of the proposal is to include numerous large street tree plantings with native grasses and groundcovers in the area, upgrades to the pedestrian crossing, bus stop and restoration of the concrete, sandstone and flagstone pavements.
These plans are in addition to the 56 trees already confirmed to be planted throughout and around the new car park of the Maitland Administration Centre in mid-2022, which include jacarandas, crepe myrtles and water gums.
Although some shrubs and trees will be removed as the Centre's construction continues, including the London Plane tree located on the corner of Devonshire Street, there will be a substantial net gain of vegetation once construction is complete.
The proposal is still in the design stage as consultation with external agencies continues about possible challenges that may be presented due to the location of underground services.
Tuesday 1 June 2021
Today the first sod was turned for the new Maitland Administration Centre with Mayor of Maitland, Cr Loretta Baker, Council General Manager, David Evans and Hansen Yuncken's Newcastle Business Development Manager, Matt Bandy.
51 jobs are estimated to be created from the construction with a further 148 to come as funds cycle through the local economy.
The project has been funded through loan repayments and is expected to be completed by the end of 2022 and will accommodate up to 360 staff with room for growth over the next 20 years.
Friday 16 April 2021
The new Maitland Administration Centre, set to be built on High Street next to the Town Hall, will shortly begin construction following the decision to enter into a $38 million contract with Hansen Yuncken Pty Ltd. for construction of the Centre. The project includes the new administration centre, as well as significant upgrades to Town Hall, parking and site improvements.
Completion is expected by the end of 2022. Approximately 360 Council staff will initially occupy the Centre with capacity for future growth, highlighting Council’s role as a major employer for the City and its commitment to the revitalisation of Central Maitland.
The development will contribute to the local economy both directly, and indirectly through the flow on effects on supply chain and consumption. Economic modelling indicates that an estimated $101.4m will be generated from the demand for local goods and services, in addition to creating 51 jobs during construction and a further 148 jobs as funds cycle through the local economy.
Following an extensive archaeological investigation at the site over recent months, items of heritage interpretation will be installed throughout the Centre as part of construction to outline the history of specific areas, while salvaged artefacts will also be displayed in the new public lobby.
Hansen Yuncken are a well known construction company who have undertaken recent local, significant works including the new University of Newcastle NUspace on Hunter Street, Newcastle, and the Honeysuckle City Campus Stage 1A currently under construction
Wednesday 10 March 2021
Council has supported a report that will establish a range of heritage interpretation items that acknowledge the history of the site of the future Maitland Administration Centre.
Signage will be used to describe the history of specific areas, salvaged artefacts will be displayed in the new public lobby of the future building, and research and detailed records of the excavation will be used to inform an online digital display.
Archaeologists were initially searching for an 1830s flour mill, however no evidence was found, and the findings were deemed as not having a high level of heritage significance.
While the remains have not been assessed as having a high level of significance, Council is committed to capturing the local significance they hold through a range of display formats that will serve as a constant reminder of Maitland's past.
Wednesday 7 January 2021
Watch the video below to learn of the archaeological findings at the site of the Maitland Administration Centre.
Monday 23 November 2020
The site of the future Maitland Administration Centre, adjacent to Town Hall on High Street, is to be closed to the public as preliminary archaeological investigations commence with works starting from Monday 30 November.
A widespread team of archaeologists will be on the site methodically excavating through the soil with the anticipation of possibly unearthing evidence of significant structures and aretfacts including that of a potential flour mill that operated in the early 19th century.
The site will be closed for the investigation for approximately four (4) weeks however may vary due to the unpredictable nature of the task.
Updates will be provided as the work progresses.
The Maitland Administration Centre will position the organisation to provide contemporary services to the growing community both now and in the future.
While asbestos has only been identified in some parts of the site, out of an abundance of caution the entire site has been closed until further notice.
We’ve been progressively assessing the site and have been taking action as soon as we were aware of any issues.
The risks associated with asbestos exposure are well documented, and that is why Council has taken the precaution of closing the site as soon as we became aware of the issue.
The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and SafeWork NSW have been informed and we’ll be working with them to quantify the risks, if any, to the public and determine a way forward. We will continue to keep the community informed.
If you have specific health concerns, you can contact your medical practitioner who will be able to consider your individual health position. Further information about asbestos exposure can be found on the NSW Health website.
All public access to the entire site has been closed.
Recent condition assessments have been undertaken by qualified and experienced assessors who have identified the presence of asbestos. As a precaution, the entire site has now been closed to the public.
We are continuing investigations and will be working with the relevant authorities as to the next steps for the site.
Council will continue to provide updates to the community.
No. You are not allowed to enter any part of the site.
Council will be in contact with adjoining property owners to determine any emergency site access requirements, including revised flood evacuation plans should that be required.
Precautionary closures and temporary measures are in place on the site including fencing and signage.
Council will be working with Crown Land and the EPA on an asbestos management plan. If required asbestos will be disposed of in accordance with EPA guidelines.
When the site will open is dependent on the results of further investigations. Until further assessment is complete, we do not know the extent of works required.
Those bookings coming up in the short term cannot go ahead anywhere on the site.
Council will contact you directly and do our best to ensure your wedding proceeds at an alternative Council venue.
We will provide a full refund of the booking fee for Walka Water Works, and we will work with you to find another Council location.
Not at this stage and not until we fully understand what the appropriate management measures are. Our priority is working with you on an alternative location.