Heart of Play Master Plan adopted!

Over a 12 month period, the City of Parramatta Council engaged with the local community to develop the Heart of Play Master Plan, which provides the blueprint for an outdoor sporting and recreation network across seven open spaces in North Parramatta. One of the spaces, Dan Mahoney Reserve, will be remediated and upgraded as a priority due to asbestos contamination. To find out more about the Heart of Play Master Plan, or more specifically about the remediation and future use of Dan Mahoney Reserve, please click on the tabs below.

Heart of Play

The master planned area is represented in the map, and includes:

  • Doyle Ground
  • Dan Mahoney Reserve
  • Barton Park
  • Old Saleyards Reserve
  • PH Jeffrey Reserve
  • Sherwin Park
  • Corry Court

Across two phases of consultation, we worked with the community and key stakeholders to develop the Heart of Play Master Plan.

The Master Plan was adopted at the City of Parramatta Council Meeting on Monday 12 July 2021, and will now be used to guide upgrades and improvements over the next twenty years!

You can find the Master Plan in the resources section of this page and read more about the consultation process by clicking on the options below.

What we heard from you?

Thank you to everyone who had their say on the Heart of Play during our first submission period from 29 June – 3 August 2020. Our engagement consultants compiled a detailed report and summary of the community’s input:

Council incorporated as many of your suggestions as possible into the draft designs, which were exhibited for feedback and refinement twice in 2021. Council also considered site constraints like contamination, historical uses and significance, and long-term strategic aims to balance current need with the needs of future generations. These considerations are summarised in the Heart of Play Background Report.

Community input was also considered alongside all relevant strategies, which can be found on Council's website, such as the Community Infrastructure Strategy, Environmental Sustainability Strategy, Disability Inclusion Action Plan and many more, which were also informed by the community’s input. Council’s consideration of these strategies holds us accountable to consider data-informed outcomes for such an impactful project.

Throughout April and May 2021, Council sought feedback on the draft Heart of Play master plan and proposed actions for each park.

The proposed actions align with four principles that were developed based on previous community input:

  • A connected and accessible network of parks
  • A welcoming place for all to play, day and night
  • Improved spaces for active sport and recreation
  • A healthy and sustainable environment

Community and stakeholder engagement included a range of activities: an online survey; community pop-up sessions; and an online webinar. Email, phone and postal submissions were also welcomed.

The Heart of Play Master Plan Phase 2 Engagement Outcomes Report provides details on the themes that emerged from the community and stakeholder engagement.

Findings from this report were used to inform amendments to the draft master plan.

Frequently asked questions

The ‘Heart of Play’ master plan will deliver a long-term strategic vision for a central sport and recreation network in the heart of the City of Parramatta.

The master planned area considers current and future uses of Doyle Ground, Dan Mahoney Reserve, Old Salesyard Reserve, Barton Park, Corry Court, PH Jeffery Reserve and Sherwin Park.

The master plan has been guided by community consultation and needs.

The seven open spaces in North Parramatta (Doyle Ground, Dan Mahoney Reserve, Old Saleyards Reserve, Barton Park, PH Jeffery Reserve, Sherwin Park and Corry Court) provide more than 30 hectares of open space just two blocks east of the Parramatta CBD’s northern extent.

North Parramatta and the CBD are projected to gain 9,501 dwellings by 2036 and an additional 36,353 residents, who will need a collective backyard. Council aims to consider the needs of this growing community alongside current residents to ensure that everyone now and in the future can enjoy our precious open spaces.

The aim of the master plan is to create a sport and recreation network that will have improved connections between these seven sites and provide enhanced community facilities. The improvements will also maximise the use of open space for the community and consider how a diverse range of recreational needs can be met.

Park upgrades will also look to future-proof water use across the network as well as provide increased cooling shade.

For further information, please email placeservices@cityofparramatta.nsw.gov.au or phone 1300 617 058.

Dan Mahoney

Remediation and future use

One of the seven open spaces included in the master planned area is Dan Mahoney Reserve. In 2018, asbestos contamination was found beneath the surface of Dan Mahoney Reserve. Interim spot treatments are keeping the site safe in the short-term, however permanent treatment of the whole site, including an improved capping layer, is required to ensure the park stays safe long into the future. Further information about Dan Mahoney’s remediation is available on a dedicated Council website.

Because Dan Mahoney Reserve will be remediated and upgraded as a first priority due to asbestos contamination, Council asked for more detailed and specific feedback about this site during the first round of consultation and then sectioned that upgrade project off so that it could proceed through site investigations and detailed design. The Heart of Play masterplan includes programmatic proposals for the site, especially to address how it connects to adjacent open spaces. However, all proposals for the site are pending feasibility based on site investigations.

Planning for treatment of Dan Mahoney Reserve provides Council with an opportunity to re-design and upgrade the park to best meet the needs of our community.

Council identified a need for more sporting space in the area to service Parramatta’s growing community. Council is therefore considering returning parts of Dan Mahoney Reserve to its previous uses: an off-leash dog park and a sporting/recreational space (the site was previously a hockey field).

What we heard from you?

Thank you to everyone who had their say on Dan Mahoney Reserve during our first submission period from 29 June – 3 August 2020. Our engagement consultants compiled a detailed report and summary of the community’s input:

Council will be incorporating as many of your suggestions as possible into the draft designs. Council will be considering community feedback along with further site investigations and constraints like contamination, historical uses and significance, and long-term strategic aims to balance current need with the needs of future generations. These considerations are summarised in the Heart of Play Background Report.

Community input is also considered alongside all relevant strategies, which can be found on Council's website, such as the Community Infrastructure Strategy, Environmental Sustainability Strategy, Disability Inclusion Action Plan and many more, which were also informed by the community’s input. Council’s consideration of these strategies holds us accountable to consider data-informed outcomes for such an impactful project.

Because Dan Mahoney Reserve is a fast-track component of the Heart of Play master plan due to asbestos contamination, we collected more detailed feedback about this park during our first round of consultation.

Frequently asked questions

Historical records show that before becoming a park, Dan Mahoney Reserve was used as a local landfill site (a tip). The former quarry was filled with waste materials throughout the 1970’s, and was then converted for use as a playing field. The site was used for sporting purposes until a decade ago, when subsidence issues (gradual sinking of areas of land within the park) made it inappropriate for organised sports to continue.

In 2017, City of Parramatta began investigating James Hardie legacy sites in our local government area. James Hardie was a manufacturer of building products, and used asbestos in their materials during the 20th century. James Hardie legacy sites are sites where waste materials from James Hardie’s manufacturing operations in Camellia were disposed.

In 2010, a Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water, report identified two parks very close to Dan Mahoney as possible James Hardie legacy sites (Doyle Ground and Barton Park).

Given its proximity to these sites, and knowing Dan Mahoney had operated as a landfill site during a period when asbestos was in frequent use, the City of Parramatta appointed a licensed specialist to undertake environmental investigations in Dan Mahoney Reserve. These investigations took place in late 2018. Asbestos, largely in its bonded (non-friable) form, was found within the soils beneath the reserve.

As a precautionary measure, City of Parramatta began a program of interim works at Dan Mahoney Reserve to ensure the site remains safe and open for users, and is planning for longer-term remediation (treatment).

The specialist’s report confirmed that Dan Mahoney Reserve is safe for use provided that adequate grass coverage or a physical barrier between the landfill and the surface of the reserve (a capping layer) is maintained.

Asbestos materials (such as small pieces of fibro similar to material found in many homes) was found in the soil beneath the reserve.

Asbestos air quality monitoring results before, during and after the testing were within normal levels.

City of Parramatta has, and continues to undertake interim works at Dan Mahoney to maintain the existing capping layers, and ensure the site remains safe and open for users.

Planning for longer-term remediation (treatment) has begun.

Test results collected in late 2018 indicated that some sections of the park contain materials (buried beneath the soil) that may pose a risk to public health and safety if disturbed. As a precautionary measure, these areas are being monitored. Where grass coverage has become inadequate and bare patches of earth are identified during regular inspections, the areas are fenced off and closed to the public while erosion prevention works are undertaken.

In May 2020, certain areas in the reserve were capped with asphalt. This work will help to ensure the ongoing safe management of the reserve, by covering areas where grass coverage is sparse and new turf installations have been unable to establish. The works were carried out in accordance with SafeWork NSW requirements, including the use of appropriate personal protective equipment, and the use of air quality monitoring during ground-disturbing works.

To keep residents and their canine companions safe during these works, temporary fencing was installed around the construction zone, closing these areas to the public.

Detailed information about past works in Dan Mahoney can be found at: https://www.cityofparramatta.nsw.gov.au/living-communityother-waste-services/dan-mahoney-reserve-north-parramatta

Immediate short-term:

City of Parramatta sought advice from its environmental consultants, the NSW Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and NSW Health, and will continue to consult with these agencies as treatment options are considered and implemented.

Consultants’ reports confirmed that Dan Mahoney Reserve is safe for use provided that adequate grass coverage or a physical barrier between the landfill and the surface of the reserve (a capping layer) is maintained.

City of Parramatta staff and contractors are undertaking regular inspections to monitor the condition of Dan Mahoney Reserve.

Paved or concrete areas are installed as required to prevent health risks due to soil disturbance.

Installing additional fencing to allow ‘resting’ sections of Dan Mahoney Reserve will also be considered. Introducing ‘open for play’ and ‘grass resting’ sections will ensure dogs and their human companions will be able to enjoy a safe off-leash area, while grass coverage is monitored and maintained.

City of Parramatta will continue to provide the community with information on its management plan for Dan Mahoney Reserve and will update on further works on this page: www.cityofparramatta.nsw.gov.au/living-communityother-waste-services/dan-mahoney-reserve-north-parramatta

Council will continue to seek advice from specialists to secure the most appropriate long-term treatment for the site and will continue to work in consultation with the NSW Asbestos Coordination Authorities group (NACC) including the EPA, SafeWork NSW and NSW Health to ensure Dan Mahoney Reserve remains safe.

Future long-term:

City of Parramatta Council took immediate action to improve capping layers, and continues to seek advice from specialists to secure the most appropriate permanent treatment of the site. Early design for a new cap for the landfill that exists beneath Dan Mahoney Reserve has begun.

Remediation provides Council with an opportunity to plan for the future use of Dan Mahoney Reserve. The community is being asked to provide feedback on a proposal to re-design and upgrade the park.

City of Parramatta will continue to monitor the site to guard against buried materials becoming exposed.

No.

Asbestos can only pose a risk to human health if fibres can become airborne, and be inhaled. The results of asbestos air quality monitoring conducted at the site are within normal limits.

As a precautionary measure, areas where contaminated materials were present beneath the soil were closed to allow adequate groundcover to be re-established.

Council staff and contractors continue to monitor the quality of groundcover at the reserve, and apply protective treatments as required.

Yes.

Groundwater and gas monitoring was undertaken at the reserve in 2019.

Further geotechnical investigations are planned in 2020 to inform the concept design for the park.

To confirm that it is safe to carry out further work at Dan Mahoney Reserve, and to assess any risk to the public, the City of Parramatta commissioned qualified environmental consultants to install gas and groundwater monitoring wells within the reserve in May 2019.

While on site, consultants also took additional, targeted soil samples to provide further understanding of the conditions at the site.

All works were carried out in areas of the park already closed to the public. All work conducted adhered to NSW EPA and SafeWork NSW health and safety standards for contaminated lands.

Environmental results from the testing, will inform the methods used to protect workers during remediation of the site and determine whether groundwater and ventilation treatments are required.

Air quality monitoring was undertaken during installation. All results were within normal limits. Results from the monitoring show that surface gas levels did not exceed national standards.

Groundwater investigations did not identify any groundwater contamination that exceeded national standards.

City of Parramatta has an obligation to remediate Dan Mahoney Reserve regardless of any future design or use.

A Remediation Action Plan (RAP) will be required to limit public exposure to potential contaminants before any construction can progress. Developing a RAP in alignment with community feedback on proposed future uses of the reserve will ensure that remediation plans respond to the future needs for the park.

Further site investigations will be required to develop the RAP, identify site constraints, and inform concept designs.

City of Parramatta has engaged a specialist contractor certified to safely work on landfill sites to allow for the ongoing maintenance of Dan Mahoney.

All works, including grass mowing, will be carried out to comply with appropriate work, health and safety standards. Contractors will wear appropriate personal protection equipment and will take necessary precautions to ensure public safety while undertaking these activities on site.

Burlington Memorial Park on Boundary Road in Northmead is a six-minute drive from Dan Mahoney Reserve. Barnett Park on Barnetts Road in Winston Hills is a 10-minute drive from Dan Mahoney Reserve.

Council is working to identify an appropriate location for a temporary dog off-leash area near Dan Mahoney for community use during future construction works.