Popular Sydney beach to close after dangerous discovery

A popular beach in Sydney's eastern suburbs is set to close for two weeks so authorities can investigate concerning materials found at the location.

Little Bay Beach will be off limits to the public from April 26 to allow for a detailed site inspection after asbestos was discovered on the beach.

The inspection will allow authorities to better understand the location, source and extent of historic asbestos-containing materials found onsite, the Randwick Council said in a statement on Wednesday.

A bird's eye view of Little Bay Beach in Sydney's east.
An aerial view of Little Bay Beach in Sydney, which will be closed on weekdays this coming fortnight. Source: AAP

Asbestos containing materials were first detected in the area in August 2020.

Since then, the council has been regularly removing potentially harmful material from the beach.

"More than 1,000 pieces of bonded (mainly fibrous cement sheeting) have been found indicating an ongoing source of contamination, potentially from nearby creek gullies where old building material may have been buried," the council said.

"The results of the detailed site inspection will help inform immediate and long-term plans for the ongoing management of Little Bay Beach."

While the work will begin on Monday, the beach will reopen to the public over the weekends.

A bag holding material that contains asbestos found at Little Bay Beach.
Examples of asbestos containing material found at Little Bay Beach. Source: Randwick Council
A map showing Little Bay Beach's closure.
A map showing the beach closure. Source: Randwick Council

After speaking with local residents, the council said the beach may have been used as a dumping site, the ABC reported.

"Given the ongoing discovery of asbestos fragments on the beach, it is likely the material is surfacing from nearby gullies which may have been used as landfill sites prior to 1988 when the adjacent Prince Henry Hospital was operating," the council said on its website.

"Such practices were not uncommon along the eastern suburbs coastline."

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