9 December 2020

ACT Government chastised over Gungahlin Pool uncertainty

| Dominic Giannini
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Gungahlin pool

The Gungahlin pool has been closed since March. Photo: Facebook.

Controversy has begun to swim around Gungahlin Pool after the ACT Government left questions about problems facing the pool and its estimated re-opening date unanswered.

The 50-metre facility has been closed since March, and was closed for two months last year for maintenance.

“There pool is scaffolded off, it is empty, there is no machinery or equipment, there is no work that is apparently being done,” Amaroo swimmer Mark Loney said.

“It is summer. People want to go to the pool.”

It is understood numerous faults have been discovered at the site, including drainage and tiling problems, newly elected Liberal MLA for Yerrabi Leanne Castley said.

“What is wrong with the pool? How much will it cost to fix? And when will work start and finish? Will the Gungahlin pool ever reopen?” she asked.

“Gungahlin’s squad swimmers have been forced to move to the Canberra Olympic Pool while lap swimmers have been advised to go to Lakeside Leisure Centre in Greenway which is 32 km away.

“Gungahlin residents deserve to know what’s going on.”

Mark Loney and Leanne Castley

Mark Loney contacted Leanne Castley about the pool after receiving no reply from the ACT Government. Photo: Supplied.

Sport and Recreation Minister Yvette Berry said she shares the community’s frustration at the pool’s closure.

Ms Berry confirmed that some tiles began to fall off the 50-metre pool in June while it was still closed and said she had asked the ACT Property Group to investigate the cause of the issue.

“Unfortunately, the timeframe for reopening the 50-metre pool will not be known until the right approach to repairing the pool has been developed by experts,” she said.

“[The] ACT Property Group is working with experts to get the pool back online as soon as possible.”

Chief Minister Andrew Barr opened the $28.7 million Leisure Centre six years ago when he was Sports Minister, lauding the facility as state of the art.

Ms Castley chastised the government, saying uncertainty around the pool was a farce.

“Mr Barr boasted that Gungahlin residents had ‘outstanding’ sporting and recreational facilities which turns out to be a joke,” she said. “It is just money going to waste.

“The issue for Gungahlin residents is there is nowhere else to go. It is a 64-kilometre roundtrip [to Greenway] if you want to pop down and do some laps. It is not right, we deserve a community pool.

“It is a state-of-the-art facility. It cost Canberrans $28.7 million. We deserve better.”

Ms Berry said that swimmers could use the 25-metre pool or visit the Dickson Aquatic Centre, Canberra Olympic Pool, Lakeside Leisure Centre or the new Stromlo Leisure Centre.

The Canberra International Sports and Aquatic Centre is also available for lap swimming, she said.

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How long does it take for a bunch of “experts” to decide how to fix something? Obviously they are thinking up a long list of stuff to pad out the requirements and increase their revenue from the project. Why do we listen to such rubbish from our elected representatives? Just fix it, and now!

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