Myuna Bay in limbo for another two months

31st July 2019

Member for Lake Macquarie Greg Piper has expressed his frustration at the independent review into the report used to close Myuna Bay Sport and Recreation Centre, saying it will mean further months in limbo for the centre and its staff.

“I met with Sports Minister John Sidoti on Tuesday and now have a copy of the independent review’s findings,” Mr Piper said.

“Unfortunately the review poses more questions than it provides answers and it fails to determine the actual degree of risk posed to Myuna Bay by a break in Eraring Power Station’s ash dam wall.

“In short, it concludes that the dam wall would likely fail if a major earthquake followed a heavy rain event, and that of course would have a catastrophic impact on Myuna Bay, and on anyone driving along Wangi Road, and on the lake itself.

“But it doesn’t tell us the chances of that happening, and that is what I and the community have been asking since it was abruptly closed and evacuated without warning.

“It is clear that the risk is incredibly low and I believe did not warrant the immediate closure of the centre. There is a degree of risk in everything we do, but we don’t shut everything down or lock everyone up in indoors. There is absolutely no immediate threat to Myuna Bay, and as we know, Geoscience Australia puts the chances of a major earthquake within 100km of Myuna Bay at ‘one-in-5000-years or more’.

“The review made 12 recommendations. Of those, 11 relate to technical methodologies in the Origin report, but the other calls for a detailed risk assessment that ‘will help decision makers determine if Myuna Bay, Wangi Road and public facilities downstream of the dam should be closed’.

“The report continued: ‘… there (are) too many uncertainties to make a reasonable estimate of the risk to life from the dam…’.

“The Minister has assured me that he has already ordered the further risk assessment, but we’re not likely to see the results of that until September. That means the centre and staff will remain in limbo for at least another two months which is incredibly frustrating.

“I find it somewhat ironic that the review also noted another internal report by Origin Energy which found there was no risk posed to its workers on the ash dam. So Origin has a report which says it’s entirely safe for its staff to be working on the ash dam, but another report which warns of catastrophic collapse in the event of an earthquake and orders the immediate shutdown of a major public facility next door. It’s mindboggling.

“To his credit, the Minister has reaffirmed his desire to get Myuna Bay reopened and has ordered the Office of Sport to continue paying special leave provisions to the centre’s staff.

“As frustrating as this latest development is, I’m standing firm on the community’s desire to see Myuna Bay reopened as soon as possible, and standing firm on the need for Origin Energy to clean up its own backyard, fix its ash dam wall and compensate the Myuna Bay centre.”

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