The City of Sarnia is closing a portion of Centennial Park to the public after soil samples taken in late April were found to contain asbestos.

In a statement released Thursday, city manager Lloyd Fennell said “This process may take a while and the public’s cooperation in staying out of the park is greatly appreciated.”

Until further tests can be done to determine the risks to the public, the city has decided to follow the recommendations of a consultant to close the park.

According to the consultant areas where people can come into direct contact with soil, (areas with no vegetation) and where ground cover could be disturbed by activity are considered to be most ‘at risk.’

More samples have been sent to a lab specializing in soil containing asbestos to ensure there were no errors in the original results. Previous samples from other areas of the park are also being re-tested.

The city says it is working with the organizers of affected events to find alternate venues.

The Dow People Place remains open and the city says it will try to keep the waterfront walkway open where possible.

An area of the park had already been closed earlier in May after high levels of lead were found in the soil.