11 February 2021

Gungahlin residents promised answers about pool woes by Monday

| Dominic Giannini
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Gungahlin pool

The Gungahlin pool has been closed since March 2020. Photo: Facebook.

Gungahlin residents have been promised an answer on Monday (15 February) as to why the Gungahlin pool has been closed for almost a year.

Minister for Sport and Recreation Yvette Berry said she shared the community’s frustration about being left in the dark over what is going on with the pool.

The government maintains that the pool remains closed to address tiling and membrane issues.

“We will have some more advice next week because I have asked the [Community Services] Directorate to do this as a priority [and] give this information so I can inform the community what is going on,” she said.

“It is incredibly frustrating, and I completely understand that a relatively new pool is not available for people to use over the summer that has just gone after the year we have just had.

“I said to the Directorate that I want the information and I want to be able to share it with the community so at least they have some idea of a timeframe about when it can be opened.”

When questioned about why she did not request more advice from the Directorate for public release earlier, Ms Berry said that she has had weekly conversations with the Directorate about the issue.

“It is a bit of a complicated issue. There is some legal and expert advice that needs to come to me about the repairs themselves and what needs to happen and how long it will take.”

Yvette Berry

Recreation Minister Yvette Berry said she has requested advice from the Directorate that she will make public next week. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Conversations are also continuing over who will be financially responsible for the repairs and whether the government will pursue compensation from the developer due to the centre only opening six years ago.

Ms Berry said she is still seeking advice from the ACT Government Solicitor on the matter.

Liberal MLA for Yerrabi, Leanne Castley, said the community remained frustrated about the lack of transparency and said the project had become a white elephant.

“My information is that the pool will not reopen this year so the government should come clean and admit that,” she said.

Ms Berry previously said that the issue would be addressed in the recent ACT budget, but budget papers do not reveal how much is being spent on the pool’s repair.

Leanne Castley

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

Money allocated to the “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 did not want to disrupt the tender process underway to repair the pool, but Ms Castley called on the government to be more forthcoming about the cost of the repairs.

“Why won’t this secretive Labor-Greens Government tell the community how much of their money the government must fork out to fix this mess?” she said.

“How much is the tender worth? What have the ‘experts’ advised? And who has been assessing the damage since mid last year?”

The 50-metre facility has been closed since March and was originally closed for two months last year for maintenance. The ACT Government spent $5,200 on minor repairs to the pool in April.

Original Article published by Dominic Giannini on The RiotACT.

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