Thursday, July 25, 2024

Asbestos rains on Mardi Gras parade

City of Sydney Council has cancelled the Sydney Mardi Gras Fair Day scheduled for Sunday following the detection of bonded asbestos in mulch used at Victoria Park.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) advised the Council of the contaminated park mulch, which followed the discovery of contaminated mulch at Liverpool West Public School on Sunday.

Following a more detailed investigation into the safety concerns at Victoria Park, it has become clear to the City and Sydney Mardi Gras that an event of the scale of Fair Day – which attracts around 70,000 attendees – is unable to proceed this Sunday, City of Sydney Council said in a statement today.

The Council said it has been working closely with Sydney Mardi Gras event organisers over the past two days to coordinate clean-up of the affected areas.

“This is an incredibly disappointing decision, as Fair Day is a pivotal part of the Mardi Gras calendar. But we have to put the safety of our community first,” said Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore AO.

“We will continue to work with Mardi Gras once the asbestos issue is resolved. Today’s decision underscores how serious this is. The NSW Government and the EPA must make sure this never happens again.”

The Lord Mayor said the Council and Sydney Mardi Gras would continue to work together to deliver other events over the 17 days of the festival.

“Fair Day is one of our most loved events, and is attended by over 70,000 people each year. It breaks our heart to see this Sunday not go ahead, but given the safety concerns we must put our communities’ wellbeing first,” said Mardi Gras CEO, Gil Beckwith. 

“Our festival is still bursting with events ready to welcome and celebrate with our community. Oxtravaganza on 24 February is a free community event that shines a spotlight on our local Gaybourhood businesses, many of which were set to participate in Fair Day; and festival highlights, including Bondi Beach Party, Parade and Mardi Gras Party, remain unaffected. 

“This cancellation is a setback, however it presents us with an opportunity to unite and support one another more strongly. The rest of our festival continues unchanged, offering many chances over the 17 days for our communities to come together in celebration and solidarity.”

Dozens of inner Sydney parks are being tested for asbestos after investigations found contaminated mulch may have been used around trees and plantings across the city.

Last night, the Council confirmed 32 parks within the LGA would undergo urgent testing.

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