Union backs Myuna Bay debate

6th June 2019

Source: Newcastle Herald | By: Matthew Kelly | Posted: June 6, 2019

MYUNA Bay Sport and Recreation Centre employees affected by the centre's sudden closure will travel to State Parliament on Thursday for a debate arguing for it to be reopened.

The Office of Sport closed the centre "effective immediately" in April after an Origin Energy report raised concerns about the stability of nearby Eraring Power Station's ash dam in a major earthquake.

The NSW Dams Safety Committee is presently reviewing the report.

While the centre's permanent staff have been redeployed, casual staff have been left mostly unemployed.

Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper, whose office gathered more than 20,000 signatures calling for Thursday's debate, said closing the centre was a knee-jerk reaction.

"While the Parliament will not vote on the sport and rec centre's future on the day, it's a very important step in our campaign while we wait for the results of the independent review," he said.

The Coal-Ash Community Alliance was formed over concerns regarding the lack of public knowledge about risk management procedures for the coal-ash dumps located at the Eraring and Vales Point power stations.

Alliance member and Wangi resident Jackie Bloom said Myuna Bay residents were not notified by Origin Energy of the risks posed by its ashd am.

"It's unacceptable that residences were not notified about why Myuna Bay Recreation Centre was closed," she said.

"It's clear we don't have the whole story about the risks coal-ash dumps could pose to our community and to our lake."

The alliance is also pushing for the release the Origin Energy engineers report which led to the closure of the centre, as well as inundation maps and modelling relating to ash-waste overflow.

"If (they) haven't carried out modelling and aren't aware of how their ash waste could impact the community, they should do so right away," member Gary Blaschke said.

"We have a right to know how risks from toxic coal ash will be mitigated."

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