Leanne Castley, Canberra Liberals MLA for Yerrabi, has called on Sports Minister Yvette Berry to tell residents if the 50-metre pool at the Gungahlin Leisure Centre will reopen in 2021.
Gungahlin residents have not been able to use the 50-metre swimming pool at the $28.7 million facility for nine months. The Leisure Centre closed in March due to COVID-19; in June, while still closed, tiles began to fall off the 50-metre pool.
Ms Castley said: “Last week Ms Berry said that ‘experts’ are trying to fix the problems, but the pool has been closed since March, and no repair work has been done.
“We know how popular community pools are during school holidays, but Gungahlin families are missing out, and they’re in the dark about what is going on.”
In a statement last Thursday (10 December), Ms Berry said it was “disappointing” that the pool continued to be closed.
“I share the community’s frustration and have asked ACT Property Group to reopen the 50-metre pool as soon as possible,” Ms Berry said.
ACT Property Group is working with experts to investigate the cause of this issue, Ms Berry said, while she had also asked the Group to make sure that the repairs addressed the risk of future tiling issues to avoid having to close the pool again.
A Property Group spokesperson said repairing the pool was a priority, and promised to keep pool users and the Gungahlin community up to date.
The timeframe and the cost for re-opening the 50-metre pool would not be known until experts have developed the right approach to repairing the pool, Ms Berry said last week.
Ms Berry also said she had informed Mark Parton MLA, Shadow Minister for Sport and Recreation, as soon as she learnt about the issue with the pool. She had also arranged to brief Members for Yerrabi – including Ms Castley – about the Gungahlin Pool repairs.
But Ms Castley wants to know who the experts are looking at the pool; what they have done so far; how much taxpayers will pay to fix the pool; when work will start and finish; and whether the pool will reopen in 2021.
“Ms Berry said she is disappointed, but that’s not good enough,” Ms Castley said.
She has lodged questions with Ms Berry in the Legislative Assembly; submitted a Freedom of Information request about the pool; and will have a briefing with the Minister’s office on Monday (21 December).
The Government suggests using the ACT’s other public pools in the meantime. There are alternative lap swimming options around Canberra at the Canberra Olympic Pool (city), Dickson Aquatic Centre, Lakeside Leisure Centre (Tuggeranong), and the new Stromlo Leisure Centre.
The privately-owned Canberra International Sports and Aquatic Centre (Bruce) is also available for lap swimming.
“What a joke!” Ms Castley said. “Gungahlin residents have been advised they can swim at Lakeside Leisure Centre in Greenway; that is 32km away, and shows the Labor-Greens Government is taking Gungahlin residents for granted.”
The Gungahlin Leisure Centre is open for other activities, including the 25-metre program pool and onsite gym.
The latest information about Gungahlin Pool is available on the ACT Government’s Sport and Recreation website at www.sport.act.gov.au.
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