SALMON ARM - A sports facility used by numerous groups in Salmon Arm has been closed until further notice after the discovery of exposed asbestos.
The Interior Health Authority was notified March 22 about the presence of exposed asbestos in the Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union Indoor Memorial Sports Complex, which is used for soccer, football, lacrosse and archery.
Juliana Gola, with the health authority’s environmental health program, says the Salmon Arm and Shuswap Lake Agricultural Association, which owns and operates the facility, was contacted immediately.
A board member confirmed lab testing had been done and were positive for asbestos, Gola says.
“They also let us know they’d placed plastic over the wall where the asbestos was detected,” she says.
Gola says if contained, asbestos poses no significant health risk, but can be dangerous if disturbed. The exposed asbestos in the arena appears to be coming from cracks in the cinder blocks of the wall.
“After speaking with the association, we recommended they didn’t have any user groups come into the facility until they had a remediation company come in to do a risk assessment. They had already made calls and the remediation company was on site (March 23),” Gola says.
A full risk-assessment must be done on the facility, which could take five to seven days, she says. After that, more time will be required to complete the needed remediation work.
“At this time we’re not sure how long the facility will be closed to the public,” Goya says.
While the association did keep the facility open to the public for some time after finding out about the asbestos, she says it was taking the right steps.
“They were open about the testing, and were letting the public know. They did try to contain the area until the remediation company came in,” Goya says. “From an Interior Health point of view, we just advised that they close the arena to minimize the risk of any exposure to the public.”
The association declined providing an interview, but sent a statement explaining it is working with a professional lab that will produce an asbestos management survey.
“The result of the survey will determine a risk assessment report and provide recommendations for further work,” president Phil Wright said.
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