Gungahlin residents kept in the dark about pool repairs

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Gungahlin residents are frustrated and confused to be kept in the dark about repairs to their swimming pool, which has been closed for nearly a year now, according to Gungahlin Community Council President Peter Elford.

“It would be easier if the government was more open,” Elford said. “It was very difficult to get information; he was late, and he was very thin.

Opened in 2014 at a cost of $ 28 million (approximately $ 30.7 million today), the Gungahlin Recreation Centerthe 50-meter pool was closed in March 2020 due to COVID-19; in June, while it was still closed, tiles started falling from the pool. Gungahlin swimmers were forced to use the public pools at Civic, Dickson, Tuggeranong or Stromlo, or the private Canberra International Sports and Aquatic Center in Bruce.

“Gungahlin is significantly underserved in terms of community and recreation facilities compared to the rest of Canberra,” Mr. Elford said. “So when we lose one of our major recreational and sports facilities, it has a huge impact on us. “

How, he wondered, could a brand new facility not work five years later? “How is it possible to build swimming pools that do not retain water?

This week, Yvette Berry, Minister of Sports and Leisure, stated that she had been informed that repairs to the pool would include the removal of all tiles, leveling screeds and coatings; a more in-depth study of all structures and joints; and the installation of a new pool tiling system, including waterproofing membrane and hose repairs.

“I share the community’s frustration with the time this has taken,” she said.

Mrs Berry asked the Department of the Treasury and Economic Development to start the work to reopen the swimming pool as soon as possible.

In last week’s budget, the government has included a “Repair of Gungahlin Recreation Center” item, with expenditure columns for fiscal years 2020-2021 and 2021-2022. No figures are provided; the cost of repairs will be the subject of trade negotiations, the budget specifies.

Ms Berry did not disclose when the repairs would begin or when they would end. Leanne Castley, Liberal MP for Yerrabi, fears that the pool will not reopen as late as June 2022, which she said would be completely unacceptable.

“The amount of work to be done is enormous,” Ms. Castley said. “The minister needs to be up front and tell residents and families of Gungahlin how long they will be without a pool. … The whole process was a disaster.

Greens MP Andrew Braddock also said he was frustrated that the pool had been closed for too long.

“I want to know when it will open and why a six-year-old ‘state-of-the-art’ facility needs such extensive public-funded repairs. This needs to be fixed as a priority. “

Ms Berry said she would continue to seek advice and regular updates on progress, and pledged to keep the community informed.

However, Mr Elford said the government had not been proactive in providing information.

“We’re trying to get the minister to explain what sequence of events got us where we are; what is the clear plan for the future; and what is the general timeline for getting a resolution… The exact details continue to be very opaque. “

Mr Elford had asked Ms Berry to attend the public council meeting in March. He said the minister had “not responded to this invitation with a yes or no”, but provided a copy of what his office had already provided to local media on Monday.

Additionally, Mr Elford said, there was no information about the ad on Ms Berry’s website, the Gungahlin Recreation Center website, the website of the Directorate of Sport and Recreation, or via social networks.

“Unless you went directly to the minister and asked explicitly, it was not proactively distributed in the community,” he said.

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