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

Dominic Giannini 16 February 2021 71
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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71 Responses to UPDATED: Gungahlin Pool requires complete removal and reinstallation of tiling system
Rob Chalmers Rob Chalmers 7:31 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 ?

    JS9 JS9 8:41 am 24 Feb 21

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

    JC JC 8:31 pm 24 Feb 21

    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.

Virginia Dodson Virginia Dodson 9:16 pm 17 Feb 21

Only 6 years old. Great value for taxpayers😕

Moira Clancy Moira Clancy 5:30 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.

    JC JC 7:35 pm 17 Feb 21

    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.

Mark Katalinic Mark Katalinic 11:59 pm 16 Feb 21

Typical gungahlin planning. Build to the lowest cost and then spend twice as much fixing it than it would have cost to do it right first go. Can we please have something delivered that is fit for purpose for once?

Sharry Jeffery Sharry Jeffery 10:38 pm 16 Feb 21

Bron no time frame 😢😠

    Bron Jeffery Bron Jeffery 5:33 pm 17 Feb 21

    FFS. A joke. Can't believe it has taken 12 months of an empty pool for them to realise this.

    Sharry Jeffery Sharry Jeffery 7:15 pm 17 Feb 21


Frankie Rossettin Frankie Rossettin 9:46 pm 16 Feb 21

Manuka, Civic, Dickson still going strong and built a long time ago.

    May Mac May Mac 10:00 pm 16 Feb 21

    Frankie Rossettin The ancient lost art of waterproofing.

    Showers in our cheapie first home were still intact when we sold over a decade later but one shower in our new dream home only lasted a year. Friends original bathroom still intact when new extension ensuite needed redoing.

    Frankie Rossettin Frankie Rossettin 10:02 pm 16 Feb 21

    May Mac I waterproofed a shower I did a Reno on in an old Qybn rental unit 10 years ago. I have no trade quals apart from YouTube and the shower is still rock solid.

    Simon Wheaton Simon Wheaton 12:21 am 17 Feb 21

    Frankie Rossettin Civic pool has been leaking since it was built...

    "fluctuating water levels and water loss were first recorded in December 1955"

    "The pool was closed in March this year (2015) after about 19 million litres of water was found to be leaking annually. Territory and Municipal Services Minister Shane Rattenbury said the amount was equivalent to the loss of the entire volume of an Olympic size pool every two weeks and was costing taxpayers $100,000 annually."


    May Mac May Mac 7:47 pm 17 Feb 21

    Simon Wheaton That's true. Seems Civic Pool was ahead of its time, very futuristic. Was it ever closed to the public as a result though? Remediation work in 1956, so before my time, and I'd forgotten about the closure a few years ago. Growing up it was the main pool and it was always open through summer.

Brad Adams Brad Adams 9:42 pm 16 Feb 21

Standard by, working in a way to Blair cyclists.

Lisa Bishop Lisa Bishop 9:04 pm 16 Feb 21

What? No warranty?

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 8:07 pm 16 Feb 21

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

Merrin Walsh Merrin Walsh 7:51 pm 16 Feb 21

What a joke

Jonathon MacLean Jonathon MacLean 7:34 pm 16 Feb 21

Taylor Keith gunners residents getting the tuggers treatment

    Taylor Keith Taylor Keith 7:38 pm 16 Feb 21

    Least Tuggers still got a pool, lasted more than 6 years too

    Jonathon MacLean Jonathon MacLean 7:48 pm 16 Feb 21

    Taylor Keith might have to use the Gungahlin light rail to head to Dickson/Civic instead. Hard work

farnarkler farnarkler 7:05 pm 16 Feb 21

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

    JS9 JS9 9:31 am 17 Feb 21

    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.

    JC JC 2:26 pm 18 Feb 21

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

    keek keek 2:47 pm 18 Feb 21

    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 Bennett Barbara Bennett 5:49 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.

Morgan O'Sullivan Morgan O'Sullivan 5:13 pm 16 Feb 21

Sarah well at least there is an explanation

    Sarah Rose Sarah Rose 6:21 pm 16 Feb 21

    Morgan O'Sullivan doesn’t explain why it was so dirty though 🤔

Mada Hill Mada Hill 5:04 pm 16 Feb 21

Seems to be all too common theme...low cost builders in with tight programs that are always further condensed...the builders should be accountable!

Darin Mulcaster Darin Mulcaster 4:29 pm 16 Feb 21

Peter Robertson , there you go

John Sheridan John Sheridan 3:47 pm 16 Feb 21

Simeran I think we picked the best option for lessons!

Cindy Samuel Cindy Samuel 3:45 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.

    JC JC 4:25 pm 16 Feb 21

    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.

    chewy14 chewy14 7:40 am 17 Feb 21

    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.

    JC JC 7:42 pm 17 Feb 21

    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.

    chewy14 chewy14 1:37 pm 18 Feb 21

    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.

    JC JC 2:24 pm 18 Feb 21

    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.

    chewy14 chewy14 5:55 pm 18 Feb 21

    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.

    Ian Ian 11:01 pm 17 Feb 21

    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.

    Dawg36233682 Dawg36233682 1:22 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.

Kob Maybury Kob Maybury 3:40 pm 16 Feb 21

So Jones and Wes, you wanna be a pool tiler

Shaz O'h Shaz O'h 3:08 pm 16 Feb 21

Jennifer Pedvin and Jenna O'Hara looks like our pool trip can't be at Gungahlin

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