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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 2 Hansard (20 May) . . Page.. 399 ..

MR STEFANIAK: I thank Mr Rugendyke for the question. Yes, you will see there is another $200,000 in the capital works budget. This was announced by the Chief Minister the other day. Because this is part of the cost, I will mention it. There was a study done in 1996 of Canberra's aquatic needs for the next 20 years. That went out for community consultation after the study. That cost about $60,000, Mr Rugendyke. Part of that, you could say, dealt with the Belconnen aquatic centre. In terms of the siting, I understand, again, the cost was approximately $60,000. Also, there have been some seismic tests done. There was a seismic problem on the designated site. I am awaiting details of those.

Mr Osborne: Seismic? Do you mean earthquake?

MR STEFANIAK: I certainly hope not, Mr Osborne; I certainly hope we do not have an earthquake. But there were some costs in relation to seismic studies, which I am yet to be advised of. As soon as I am advised of those, I will get those to you as well.

MR RUGENDYKE: I have a supplementary question. Thank you, Minister. Given the apparent backflip on the construction of the pool, does this mean that the money spent so far has been wasted?

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Rugendyke, you talk about a backflip. I take it you are actually supporting the pool now, but I note you were having a bit of an each-way bet in the Chronicle of 20 January. At any rate, in terms of money spent to date, $60,000 was for a study of the aquatic needs of the whole of Canberra for the next 20 years. I think that is money well spent. I note that a number of people in the community did not like some of the recommendations of that report. I note that quite a few of our students from Daramalan are well aware of the Dickson pool.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Stop referring to the gallery.

MR STEFANIAK: That study suggested that, if we upgrade Civic in years to come, that could close. That caused quite a bit of angst, naturally enough, amongst the people who use Dickson pool. In the last election campaign, people would be no doubt aware, I indicated in categorical terms that it is not this Government's intention to close that pool. I made that guarantee for the term of this current Government. That was one of the points in that report.

In terms of the siting report, six sites were looked at in Belconnen, Mr Rugendyke, including the sites of the three existing operators who have pools within their facilities. Those six sites were looked at and were numbered one to six in order of recommendation to the Government. The Government picked the No. 1 site. I am pleased to see Mr Evans from the Belconnen Community Council in the audience as well. His organisation conducted a survey of about 800 people, and well over 90 per cent were very keen to see a facility built. It is interesting that over 600 actually preferred that site.

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