1 November 2021

Long hot Summer ahead: Gungahlin, Phillip pools closed; Civic pool's future uncertain

| Max O'Driscoll
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Gungahlin pool

Works at the currently closed Gungahlin pool at the Leisure Centre have recommenced after a break in construction for the lockdown. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Minister for Sport and Recreation Yvette Berry has acknowledged community frustration around another summer without the Gungahlin pool, describing the lengthy repair process over the past 18 months as “quite the journey”.

The Gungahlin Leisure Centre has had a long-running leaking issue with its 50-metre pool dating back to mid-2020. The issues have remained unresolved since then, meaning the pool was unavailable for use last summer and is likely to remain closed for most of the coming summer.

“We know that everyone wants to see it open again and operating hopefully better than it ever was, which is definitely our plan from the government perspective,” Ms Berry said at Budget Estimates for sport and recreation on Friday (29 October).

The government has flagged acoustic and lighting upgrades at the pool. Before the pool’s closure, Ms Berry was approached by its main user groups who raised concerns about both the high noise levels and poor lighting standards in the building. The ACT Government has set aside $365,000 in the budget for these upgrades.

READ MORE Gungahlin Pool repair completion pushed into 2022

Executive Group Manager of Shared Services and Property Graham Tanton said that works recommenced on 18 October after the pandemic brought the project to a halt.

He expects proceedings to ramp up, along with work on the pool shell, expansion joints and water testing. He also revealed that operators of the Gungahlin Leisure Centre, YMCA NSW, are being compensated for the pool’s closure, but did not disclose the exact level of this compensation.

The Civic Pool, or Canberra Olympic Pool as it is formally known, has had an uncertain future for some time. The pool site was viewed as the preferred location for the Civic Stadium project from a report released in March of this year.

In the ACT budget released last month, $1.3 million was set aside for the pool’s operating costs. The budget stated the government would assess the impact on the pool’s patronage following the opening of Stromlo Leisure Centre and the new aquatic facility at ANU before providing funding forecasts.

READ MORE Phillip Pool to stay closed for 2021/22 summer as questions remain regarding its future

Shadow Ministers suggested $1.3 million would struggle to meet the costs of operations and maintenance at the facility and posed questions to Ms Berry regarding the pool’s future beyond the next budget year.

Despite declaring the Civic Pool to be an important part of Canberra’s history, Ms Berry agreed that the cost of operations is becoming “more expensive as time goes on” and suggested that questions remain over whether a pool is the best use of the site moving forward.

Unlike Gungahlin Pool and the pool at Phillip, the Canberra Olympic Pool is currently open to the public.

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Another ACT Government cluster f..k!!! Aren’t they great? Turning the National Capital into the National Capital while charging premium rates and fees.
John Overall and his esteemed NCDC colleagues, who so meticulously planned Canberra over half a century and produced the most livable city in the world, must be rolling in their graves as Barr and his quota-driven bleeding heart cronies and the useless Liberal opposition oversee the unravelling of all their hard work.
Our current leaders are sadly turning the Y Plan into the Why Plan.

Looks like its back to Casurina Sands!

What’s going on Canberra?? Growing up in the 70s & 80s pools like Phillip, Deakin, & Manuka were the go to place for Canberra kids in summer. Why are they all seemingly struggling?

Who was the architect for the Gungahlin pool? It looks awful. Those old-fashioned struts across the ceiling look like something out of a pool in a hick town in the 1950s or 60s. I’m not surprised it had to be closed shortly after opening. It is obvious it was constructed on the cheap.

FUBAR. This regime has been talking about replacing the Civic Pool for a decade, and they still don’t have an actual plan.

It is a safe bet that the government is eyeing off the valuable land currently occupied by both the Civic and Phillip pools. It must really annoy Mr Bar and co that this land is being wasted for useless goals such as leisure, fitness and water safety.

Surely these facilities are in their twilight.

They missed the opportunity with the Stromlo pool. There was talk at one point of building more substantial facilities there including high diving pools etc. But the government lacked vision.

The Phillip pool is privately owned, so Barr has nothing to do with it.

Woden Valley Community Council11:19 pm 02 Nov 21

Yes he does, he committed to a new ice rink in Tuggeranong which is undermined the financial viability of the Phillip Pool & ice-skating Centre. There is now little incentive for the owners to invest in the Phillip Pool as it’s future is in doubt.

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