Marfell Park users are demanding independent experts declare the land safe before they set foot in the grounds again.
Local community leaders have door-knocked locals to help raise awareness about toxic agrichemicals found at the park last month and have placed an informal ban on the area.
Two drums containing agrichemicals were unearthed at the park during stormwater works last month and seven more have been found since.
The discovery has led to concerns that another investigation is needed into previous allegations of secret chemical dumping by the former Ivon Watkins-Dow chemical plant, despite the Taranaki Regional Council finding no evidence of agrichemicals at 31 alleged sites in 2001.
Community spokesman Mark Smith said both the New Plymouth District Council and the regional council had failed the people of Marfell by failing to provide accurate information.
“We are taking precautions until independent tests are done. We’ve got to take a firm stance to protect our mokopuna and our tamariki,” Mr Smith said.
It was possible a rahui could be placed on the park after consultation with iwi, he said.
Taranaki Regional Council director of environment quality Gary Bedford said it was disappointing to hear people felt the council had failed them.
“With hindsight and considering how some residents have reacted there might have been other ways of going about that [consulting the community].”
“Our statements about the park have always been based on factual evidence and we can’t control how people view that evidence,” said Mr Bedford.
He again wanted to reassure the public that in his view, and the TRC’s, the park was safe for children to play on.
New Plymouth District Council manager of community assets Anthony Wilson said the council was taking advice from TRC and saw no grounds to close the park formally.
Mr Smith had been in touch with the local school and kindergarten and said yesterday that children were walking around the park instead of taking their usual short-cut through it.
He had also been in touch with groups who used Ngamotu Domain, another alleged dump site, about placing a ban there too. “If we’re going to close one then close them all.”
At present, the community group’s main concern was raising awareness, he said.
Minister of environment Nick Smith and local MP Jonathan Young were arranging a briefing from the TRC.
13/06/2009 | By KIRSTY JOHNSTON | Daily News | NEWS-2009-M06-13-001 | stuff.co.nz