$60m Games' pool leaking

Austadiums   |  Saturday 22nd October 2005

The $60 million Commonwealth Games pool is leaking. Tests in the past week have revealed about a dozen cracks in its rubber surface membrane.

Already months behind schedule, the pool is being emptied as workers try to find any more faults.

The stainless steel structure was lifted in in pieces, welded together and covered with a veneer.

A dye has been pumped into the water to find holes. Once drained, every weld joint will be tested.

Games Minister Justin Madden visited the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre less than three weeks ago as workers started filling the pool.

Yesterday Mr Madden confirmed the leaks -- each about the size of a bicycle puncture.

"My understanding is that they've been discovered primarily as the pool's been completely filled," he said.

Mr Madden said it was common to find early leaks in prefabricated pools.

He said the pool was under warranty and the contractor would pay to fix the leaks.

"We're very confident they will be rectified with plenty of time to ensure that the stadium's ready for Games time," Mr Madden said.

The open-air pool has been a big problem for the Government.

Earlier delays had ensured it would not be ready for the Pacific School Games in late November, which was to be the pool's first major test.

The first big test now will be the Australian selection trials in late January.

Originally it was thought the pool would cost $50 million, but that had blown out to $51.5 million this year before it was revealed builder claims could add another $8 million.

In July, the Herald Sun reported that consultants had failed to allow for a spotted gum tree when designing the roof for temporary stands.

The design was changed to accommodate the tree with the cost put as high as $400,000.

Mr Madden also said the public exclusion period at the centre before the Melbourne Games might be less than a month.

He said Albert Park would be a flurry of activity in February and March, with much of the Grand Prix infrastructure to be installed at the same time as the Games bump in.

The GP starts just four days after the March 26 Games closing ceremony.

GP sponsor signs that clash with Games backers will be covered up during the Games.

Melbourne Sports & Aquatic Centre

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