LAKE Macquarie City Council workers have discovered asbestos buried below the surface at Bernie Goodwin Memorial Park, in Morisset.
The discovery was made during work on the council's $1.4-million upgrade of the venue.
"Unfortunately, asbestos has been found during the first stage of works on the upgrade to the playground at Bernie Goodwin Memorial Park, which has impacted on the construction schedule for the project," a spokesperson for the council said.
"A site assessment has been carried out to determine the extent of contamination and to assess the possible remediation works required. The site has been securely fenced and presents no safety issue for the community."
It appears the asbestos had been illegally dumped in the park.
The Lakes Mail understands the asbestos was discovered during the digging of footings.
The council spokesperson said the asbestos had been "fully covered over", and had posed no risk to previous users of the park.
Asbestos poses a potential risk to health if fibres are suspended in air and breathed into the lungs.
The Cancer Council says being exposed to asbestos increases the risk of developing cancers which can often develop decades after exposure.
The asbestos find has slowed progress on the upgrade of the park.
"The contamination of the site will impact the delivery of the playground," the council spokesperson said.
"However, council will continue to keep the community updated on its progress and estimated construction schedule, once the extent of the remediation works are known.
"Council remains committed to the upgrades to Bernie Goodwin Memorial Park and its transformation into an exciting recreation precinct."
The upgrade will include construction of new playground equipment, outdoor fitness stations, and barbecues.