The future of the Civic Pool in the balance

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SHANE Rattenbury says that during the normal period of closure of the two outdoor pools (dive and toddler) over winter months, work will commence to investigate substantial leaks at the Canberra Olympic Pool (COP). This work will inform a future decision about the long term viability of the two outdoor pools.

“The Civic Pool (or COP) was built in 1955 and is a much-loved facility for thousands of Canberrans,” Shane said.

“The pool has a personal history for many in our community and it is important to many of the sporting groups who train there regularly. Many of us have fond memories growing up and spending summers at the pool – and remember the initiation of jumping off the top tower, school swimming carnivals, and the day the ‘bubble’ was put on.

“However, many Canberrans will be unaware that the pool has a substantial leak, and a number of detailed investigations to identify the source of the leaks and attempts made to repair the infrastructure, have been unsuccessful.

“As such, I have directed Sport and Recreation Services to undertake a series of steps to address the issue in the short and medium term.

“As usual, the two outdoor pools will close at 31 March, the end of the 2014-15 summer season. During the winter months, work will be undertaken to establish the cause and identify potential solutions to the leakage problem. The indoor 50m pool, health club, and ancillary facilities will remain open throughout this period, with the possible exception of a couple of days of closure to complete the investigative works.

“Once the investigations are complete, a decision will be taken as to whether the outdoor pools can re-open next summer. If the investigations identify the cause of the leaks, and remediation work can be undertaken at a reasonable cost to government, the outdoor pools will be re-opened next summer, following the completion of rectification works.

“However, if remediation cannot be undertaken, the outdoor pools will not be re-opened next summer in order to reduce the significant loss of water that is currently taking place.

“In addition to closing the outdoor pools for investigatory and possible rectification works, the issue of the leak has required a subsequent decision to be made around the future contractual arrangements for management of the COP. To date the both COP and the Lakeside Leisure Centre in Tuggeranong have operated under a single management contract. In the present circumstances it is prudent to ensure that contract arrangements remains tenable going forward.

“A Request for Proposal (RFP) will open this coming Saturday 21 March 2015 which will seek to establish a new management contract at the COP.

“Shortly after the Request for Proposal for Civic Pool is advertised, a similar procurement process for a new management contract at the Lakeside Leisure Centre in Tuggeranong will also be advertised.

“The current contract for both facilities will end on 30 June 2015,” the Minister concluded.

The ACT Government invites parties interested in undertaking the future management of COP to submit a proposal during the RFP period which will close on Thursday 16 April 2015. Further information on the RFP is available at

UPDATE: The Liberals’ Steve Doszpot has expressed his displeasure:

Today’s announcement about the dubious future of the Canberra Olympic Pool highlights the government’s poor oversight which is likely to disrupt pool users and business in the future, Shadow Minister for Sport and Recreation Steve Doszpot said today.

“Shane Rattenbury has signalled that the pool may not reopen for the next summer season if major water leakages cannot be fixed. We know that the government was alerted to the leakages about 18 months ago. It seems to have taken a long time to address the problem,” Mr Doszpot said.

“The Diving Academy, water rugby and water polo are all major users of the Canberra Olympic Pool and should probably start looking for a new home if the government cannot provide certainty.

“In the Assembly I asked Minister Rattenbury why the contractor who found the leak had their contract terminated two years early. I am yet to receive an answer.

“The government should think of the inconvenience it’s causing and look to address issues as a matter of urgency instead of dragging its heels,” Mr Doszpot concluded.

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