The Minister for Sport and Recreation, Yvette Berry, extended an invitation to the GCC executive to undertake a tour of the Gungahlin Pool on Thursday 4 March, 2021. Four members of the executive were able to attend, and the tour was hosted by two senior executives from Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate and Major Projects Canberra. We were given access to the empty pool to see the damage, and the opportunity to ask questions. I can ssure you, if a 50m pool looks big, it seems much bigger when it’s empty and you are standing in it!
What we Learned
The construction contract was awarded through an open tender, the results of which are available from ACT Tenders. The contract was signed with ADCO Constructions included a six year post-completion “warranty”, which expired before any of the issues were identified.
The initial problem was identified in the north-western corner of the pool where about 50 tiles had fallen off in June 2020, during the period the pool was closed due to the COVID pandemic. Further investigation using divers revealed more tiles coming away from the bottom of the pool. There was no leaking of water.
Technical experts were engaged to determine the cause of the problem. The identity of the experts and the specific results of the consultation are part of legal proceedings and will not be made available. No clear fault was identified. Evidence of some of the testing done by the experts can be seen in the photos. Legal/commercial negotiations commenced with ADCO Constructions which led to the settlement announced in the media (a payment of $400,000 to the ACT Government). A focus of these negotiations was to conclude proceedings in a timely fashion.
The ACT Property Group is now working to undertake a complete and full repair of the pool using the latest tiling system as quickly as practicably possible. This will be a complete repair (the phrase “back to concrete” was used) rather than a patching process to ensure the remediation is successful. A tender will be issued for this work in coming weeks. The original contractor will not be considered. The amount of money in the budget for repairs is not being revealed as there will be a tender for a contractor to undertake the repairs. In response to questions about whether the Government were confident that the unspecified “latest tiling system” would fix the problem, even when the cause of the problem remains unknown, we were told this information would be made available further in the repair tender process.
The goal is to have the 50m pool back in service by the end of 2021, in time for the bulk of summer.
The GCC reiterated that the lack of (proactive) information about the problem and what was being done to address it had caused significant frustration for GCC residents. This was acknowledged by our hosts and they undertook to provide that feedback to their communications team.
The GCC notes that there was an item in the 4 March 2021 issue of the ACT Government’s OurCBR newsletter which references an update on the Sport and Recreation website.
For those interested in more details the pool was discussed extensively at an ACT Government estimates hearing (Monday 1 March 2021).
The GCC would like to thank Minister Berry for facilitating the tour, and to our hosts from the ACT Property Group who very patiently answered our many questions.