Contaminated soil found at Girrabanya Children's Centre

Updated November 2 2012 - 12:08am, first published January 14 2009 - 1:04am

ARSENIC and other contaminants have been found in soil around a City of Ballarat childcare centre.Parents with kids at the Girrabanya Children's Centre were told in late December that contaminated soil had been found on vacant land next door.Contractors had tested the soil in preparation for the construction of a children's hub, which will expand the centre's facilities.The Courier understands council staff contacted parents on December 18, telling them of the contamination and advising they would not be charged if they chose not to send their kids to the centre the following day.Parents were then given a letter, signed by the city's director of community wellbeing Carolyn Barrie, explaining the situation.The letter said low levels of arsenic and poly achromatic hydrocarbon, a by-product of burning carbon fuels, had been found."Soil testing has not been carried out on the Girrabanya site, at this stage we do not know if the site is contaminated," Ms Barrie wrote in December.Yesterday, city chief executive officer Anthony Schinck said the soil tests had been done and the results were expected today."It's important that as parents are returning to work and centres are reopening that we get that information as soon as possible so we can determine measures to make sure children have care," he said."We want to be able to work with the parents in relation to the children returning to the site and how and when that will occur."Mr Schinck said the council would contact parents personally about the results of the test, saying all the families had been understanding and co-operative.The Courier understands a summer childcare program had been scheduled for Girrabanya but was moved to Wendouree by the council after the contaminated soil was found.