The ACT Government has announced [Ed- drip fed to their poodles at the CT more like it] that this year’s budget will include funding for the Gungahlin Aquatic Centre to include a 50m pool, a 20m ‘utility’ pool (i.e. learn-to-swim, polo, etc), and toddlers area.
Since the Sport and Recreation people went out to the community with a feasibility study that considered an option that did NOT include a 50 metre pool, the people of Gungahlin have been mighty upset. Did this represent a backflip by the ALP on their election promises of August 2008?
On 10 February, I had a good talk with Jon Stanhope after he acknowledged Gungahlin’s push for a 50m pool during his speech at the opening of the Harrison Childcare Centre. He said he didn’t understand why people were upset at them. I explained that given his promise to build a centre with both 50 & 25 pools, people were suspicious that the feasibility report even including a 25m-only option. It looked like an attempt to back down from the promise. Why did the consultant presenting his feasibility study to us at our meeting the night before say that he wasn’t given any terms of reference that set this promise as the starting point for his study? Jon Stanhope received these thoughts well, and said he’d talk with Andrew Barr about it.
Meanwhile, through the Gungahlin Community Council Facebook page, the media and meetings, the message got out and people vented their concerns to Messrs Stanhope and Barr, sending in emails, letters and submissions. It became clear to them it wasn’t just a GCC thing, but that this was an issue the community was solidly behind. The ACT Greens and Liberals also solidly backed the campaign, and our thanks go particularly to the Greens’ Shane Rattenbury and Liberals’ Jeremy Hanson for their support.
It’s a clear demonstration that when the community gets behind an important issue, it’s possible to pull off a great win. A big thank you to everyone who ‘dove right in’ and helped our campaign!
Now, about that third hospital…
– Alan Kerlin