NO-GO ZONE: Rockhampton Regional Council’s sport and recreation committee chairwoman Cr Cherie Rutherford, CEO Evan Pardon and Mayor Margaret Strelow inspect some of the rubbish that has surfaced at Kershaw Gardens.
NO-GO ZONE: Rockhampton Regional Council’s sport and recreation committee chairwoman Cr Cherie Rutherford, CEO Evan Pardon and Mayor Margaret Strelow inspect some of the rubbish that has surfaced at Kershaw Gardens. Allan Reinikka Rokagardens

Marcia forces Kershaw Gardens closure indefinitely

ROCKHAMPTON'S beautiful Kershaw Gardens is closed for safety reasons after Cyclone Marcia brought buried rubbish, including syringes and broken glass, to the parkland's surface.

It's unclear how long it will be before the popular north side venue will be re-opened.

Rockhampton councillor Cherie Rutherford, Mayor Margaret Strelow and CEO Evan Pardon yesterday said Marcia had caused old landfill items to resurface throughout the park.

The gardens were built on top of the city's old dump.

Cr Rutherford said damage had extended beyond what was expected.

"Not only have we had a large number of trees brought down but those trees have unearthed the rubbish that was the landfill prior to the Kershaw Gardens being developed," she said.

"It still looks beautiful to wander through but it's not... there's a lot of broken glass, there's some syringes popping up. It's just dangerous to be here."

The exposed landfill is accompanied by the increased risk of methane gas in the area, meaning the disassembly of metal objects in the park must be done by hand to reduce heat.

Cr Strelow said people had not been heeding council's instructions not to enter the area.

"We have had signs up here for over a week and a half now, and hazard tape around the swings. It hasn't worked," she said.

"People have removed the tape, bringing their children into the swings. We have removed the swings and are asking people just to stay away."

The process to re-open the park will begin with investigations to determine where the landfill is, and at what depth it is buried.

Cr Strelow said the landfill had originally been capped in the 1980s when there were no standards on depth, and the park now had to meet the new requirements to ensure public safety.

The estimated cost of repair is unknown but Cr Strelow said she was hopeful the majority of funding would come from government assistance.

"We have been talking to the State Government from the very beginning about the need for special assistance for Kershaw Gardens to allow us to bring it back. That's part of what we're lodging still for Cat D funding," she said.

"We had some money in the budget for Kershaw Gardens. You may recall I wanted this to be redeveloped as Rockhampton's big backyard, well it will probably have more redevelopment than I had originally envisioned."



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