Contamination investigation closes walkway

Closed Smithfield track map

A coastal walkway path in Timaru has been closed after a report of asbestos in the area.

A section of the path, north of Smithfield Beach, will be closed until further notice. Today, Timaru District Council have placed signs at the pathway to stop people from entering.

Environment Canterbury South Canterbury Manager Justin McLauchlan said, “We had a member of the public contact us yesterday saying they believed there was exposed asbestos along the pathway. As a result, we sent one of our staff to investigate and decided to recommend that Timaru District Council shut the pathway until the investigation was complete.

“A sample of the material has been sent away for testing, and the results will be back next week. In the meantime, we will treat the material as if it is asbestos.”
McLauchlan said it was too early to say how long the investigation would take or how long the pathway would be closed for.

“Until we know what we are dealing with, we want to ensure the public don’t access this site to ensure their safety.”

An investigation is now underway and Environment Canterbury is working with the landowner, Worksafe and Timaru District Council. In addition, Environment Canterbury has been in contact with local rūnanga.