As part of a recent funding application made by Corangamite Shire Council for expansion works at the Cobden Kindergarten, soil testing completed at the facility has returned elevated levels of lead in some small areas of soil, adjacent to the veranda under the shaded playground at the site.
Council was alerted to the issue on Wednesday evening and immediately engaged with the Department of Education and Training to ensure appropriate actions were taken.
Corangamite Shire Council CEO Andrew Mason said the Council was working with all relevant stakeholders to deal with the issue.
“Thankfully our preliminary investigations have shown the lead was in areas not readily accessible to children, but Council is treating this very seriously and adopting a very cautious approach,” Mr Mason said.
“Upon receiving these results, Council has contacted all staff and families who have children attending the centre to explain the issue and answer any questions that they may have.
“Council has also moved quickly to receive advice on the most appropriate form of treatment to deal with the issue.
“This was received, and the impacted area has had safety fencing installed, which will allow the service to operate as per normal on Monday with no risk to the health and safety of children and staff at the facility,” he added.
“The health, safety and wellbeing of children at the kindergarten is always the number one priority.”
The cause of the issue is currently under investigation with Council and Department of Education and Training engaging with the Environment Protection Authority and other specialists to provide advice on this matter.
Through these investigations, Council will implement an appropriate long-term solution to the issue.
The Department of Education and Training will continue to consider the application for the proposed redevelopment of the kindergarten ahead of the introduction of three-year-old kindergarten in 2021.