UPDATED 12:45 pm, 16 February: All the tiles, levelling screeds and coatings of the Gungahlin Pool will have to be removed while a further investigation into the structure and joints is undertaken, Sports and Recreation Minister Yvette Berry confirmed last night (15 February).
The works will then require the installation of a new “pool tiling system” which includes waterproofing membrane and grout repairs.
Ms Berry did not release a timeframe for the work or a cost estimate.
Gungahlin Pool has been closed since March 2020 but was originally only supposed to be closed for maintenance for two months. The ACT Government spent $5,200 on minor repairs to the pool in April.
Ms Berry said that experts, including structural engineers and consultants, had been conducting investigations in relation to the pool since June 2020.
“The government is continuing negotiations for the pool repairs,” she said in a statement to Region Media.
“I have now received information from Chief Minister Treasury and Economic Development Directorate and Major Projects Canberra on options for the government to arrange for the pool to be fixed and reopened to the community.
“I have asked for the Directorate to begin a process to get these works underway to reopen the pool for the community as soon as possible.”
Liberal member for Yerrabi Leanne Castley chastised Ms Berry for withholding information from Gungahlin residents about the timeline and costs of repairing the pool.
“Throughout the [election] campaign, I kept getting questions about the pool [from residents] who were not able to get answers and it is only since that we have been pushing almost weekly that we have seen a little bit of traction. The Minister’s office could have come clean a little bit earlier about what is happening with the pool,” she said.
“When they first discovered these problems the experts could have cottoned on a little bit quicker, we could have gotten some answers and it would have been great to have the pool’s work underway now, especially while it was closed due to COVID.
“There are no answers as to when the work will begin, when the work will end and when we will get our pool. It could be as late as 2022. We could be looking at another summer without a pool.”
Ms Castley said she wants to see the pool opened in time for summer so residents do not miss out on the facility for a second year in a row.
“It is a year,” Ms Castley said.
“It has been 12 months since it closed and if these problems were highlighted last June, surely something could have been done before now?
“We have been completely left in the dark and Gungahlin residents deserve far more information.
“It is not enough to have a line item in the budget with no explanation as to when the money will be released. They deserve to be kept up to date, especially the people using the pool every single day.”
Money allocated to “repairing the Gungahlin Leisure Centre” has been set aside for 2020-21 and the following financial year but are listed as “Not for Publication”, which is used when “the publication of detailed financial information could impact on the government’s ability to achieve value for money in the market”.
Ms Berry said she shared the community’s frustration and will continue to keep the community informed throughout the process.
The pool was opened six years ago by then Sports Minister Andrew Barr.