16 February 2021

UPDATED: Gungahlin Pool requires complete removal and reinstallation of tiling system

| Dominic Giannini
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The Gungahlin Pool

Gungahlin Pool has been closed since March. Photo: Facebook.

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.

Yvette Berry

Minister Yvette Berry said she will continue to keep the community updated. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

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.”

READ MORE Gungahlin residents promised answers about pool woes by Monday

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.”

Leanne Castley

Leanne Castley has chastised the Government for remaining vague on the Gungahlin Pool at the Leisure Centre. Photo: Supplied.

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.

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Rob Chalmers7:31 pm 23 Feb 21

So Gungahlin pool is to be repaired good. What about the Olympic pools at Civic or are these to be sold to be developed ?

I think the Civic pool is probably a lost cause in terms of fixing it, without knocking it all down and starting again.

Yup. And if going to knock it down (Civix) and rebuild it may as well do it elsewhere and keep Civic with its Duby done open whilst it’s built.

Moira Clancy5:30 am 17 Feb 21

Meanwhile, questions about the pool submitted to the Directorate or straight to Ms Berry go unanswered. Accountability, transparency and basic courtesy be damned. Quite shocked by the complete denial.

Ever thought that maybe there are legal proceedings taking place between the government that prevents your question being made public?

I’m certain the government isn’t in denial and would without be doubt be in dispute with who ever it was that built it.

HiddenDragon8:07 pm 16 Feb 21

There’s fairly hot competition for the title, but Canberra really is the Bermuda Triangle of Australian building standards.

Looks like the ACT government needs to send some ACT public servants on a procurement and contract management course.

Its far more likely the problem was not at the procurement end of the process, but at the certification end of the process – i.e. confirming the quality of what was actually delivered on paper.

But as always, lazy rhetoric seems to be the way sometimes on here.

So you build a house, the builder buggers it and it is your fault? That’s basically what you are saying isn’t it?

In that case you usually find that the building company has gone bankrupt and the company dissolved, but the builder is now operating under a different business name and ABN.

Barbara Bennett5:49 pm 16 Feb 21

If it is the fixing agent (glue or cement) that is the problem then it should be the company and/or whoever it was who advised the use of that product, not the ACT tax payers who pay for the repairs.

Cindy Samuel3:45 pm 16 Feb 21

Does this woman realise that this was identified in the middle of a bloody pandemic?
So she expects all the necessay investigation, approvals process and procurement processes that are necessary can all be done while public servants have been on forced work from home and most of the companies that would tender for this are on stsnddown like the rest of the country.
That’s on top of the outlays for act quarantine for incoming citizens, the emergency covid intensive care mobile hospital, triple cost for ppe for hospital staff, stimulus packages and other state level aid that has been outgoing to keep our local economy afloat on top of the lowered tax and revenue. Oh and we will probably have to add vaccination on top of that.

Yep let’s whinge about the pool not getting fixed.

Talk about first world problems and unrealistic expectations.

On top of that there is mostly likely a legal battle being had or brewing with the company that built the place.

This is the kind of situation that no one is a winner from. I am 100% sure the government would not have wanted this to either happen or go on for so long, as I said in another post they are as much a victim in this case as the public are.

Dawg362336821:22 am 17 Feb 21

Nonsense, apart from a few short periods it’s mostly business as usual in the ACT, the territory isn’t shut down, and if you read the article it already explains the budget is already allocated, it hasn’t been redirected to any of the completely irrelevant and unrelated things you’ve unnecessarily listed.

If there was a legal battle brewing with the construction company, why would the government be allocating budget funds to pay for the repairs themselves?

It would be very interesting to see what their contracts say and what type of defects liability timeframe was applied. 6 years is a very long time for something that was certified.

Simple chewy. It needs to be fixed now not in a few years which is how long any legal battle would take. Any settlement would find its way back into the budget down the track.

Also there are few articles that suggest the government is seeking legal advice over payment for repairs. Says to me proceedings won’t be far away.

One such article.

I’d think the government might be interested in getting the pool fixed and in use again sooner than the several years any litigation is likely to take. I’d say fix it now, and sue the hell out of the builders to get the money back.

And yet no legal proceeding have begun, nor is the government even openly talking about it. Merely “seeking legal advice” is meaningless here considering the problem has been known for a significant amount of time already.

You know as well as I do, if the government thought they had an open and shut legal case for damages, they would be shouting it from the rooftops.

The fact that they aren’t should tell you something.

The government is clearly not as confident as you are and their budget allocation and quiet messaging on the issue is proof of it.

Chewy I am sure the government wants to resolve this as quickly as possible and taking the path of work out the issues, fix the issues and take legal action later is the only way to get the pool back in action ASAP.

And correct they are not openly talking about legal action but are certainly implying it. And I would have an educated guess that is so to no prejudice any case they have against the builder. Fairly common with legal action and explains why things have taken so long and why information made available to the public is scant.

In the fullness of time it will all become clear.

Except they are suffering political damage right now over the issue, something that they would almost always treat as priority number 1 to prevent.

The quiet nature of their response seems more in line with an attempt to sweep a massive stuff up under the carpet rather than preparing a legal challenge.

Coming out and openly stating that they are exploring legal options and believe they have a strong case would in no way prejudice any legal action, so it’s seems strange that they aren’t doing so.

You’re right that time will tell, but I’m far less confident than you are.

Its almost like they’re trying to hide a major stuff up.

But that can’t be right…….

I still feel like a mushroom.
Had the pool been leaking water, how much, over how long?
Does the 6 year old pool have structural problems of not?
Why haven’t the tiles been removed already, it’s been a year?
Who is paying for this, and what sort of warranty applies?
How can a $28 million complex be out of action after 6 years?

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