Zoom Zone 'Dry Court' - Anything But, It Seems!
Monday, December 4, 2017 at 11:11AM
Bill Barclay

Here are a series of questions that I provided late on Friday for Laurna White concerning the Dry Court, the state of which has gone beyond the description 'debacle.':

1.      "What precisely is the fault with the ceiling and/or roof for which repairs are now necessary?

2.      What is the specific nature of damage to and repairs necessary in relation to the floor of the building, if any?

3.      What is the nature of the ventilation required to deal with the under-floor moisture problem, if any?

4.      What is the nature and extent of any other problems that have arisen in relation to this building since ‘completion’, if any?

5.      What is the total estimated cost of rectifying all identified defects?

6.      How much is the total amount remaining, if any, in ‘retention’?

7.      Who was the principal architect retained for the task of designing the building?

8.      Who was the principal engineer retained for the purpose of providing engineering advice on the design of the building?

9.      Were either of the tasks under 7/8 put out to tender?

10.  Was any person used for either 7/8 related to the previous Area Manager – Greg Hampton?

11.  Had either the architect or engineer engaged under 7/8 ever designed a similar building before being engaged for this purpose?

12.  In the light of the major subterranean drainage problems experienced on the carpark above the school site, were any specific reports sought in relation to the suitability of the school site for this building?"

On 29 August, you advised me as follows:

"At this stage we are in discussions with several parties about the issues at the Gym, which means we aren't  in a position to make any comment around liability at the moment.

This is also the case around costs  - as these are still being determined as well. As I indicated we will make public the figures once they've been finalised"

"Three months does seem rather a long time, even given the extraordinary circumstances surrounding this project, to be able to arrive at a position where this information is able to be released.

I am not of a mind to allow this situation to drag on indefinitely. Other media from outside the District are now beginning to take an interest in this project, and rumour and misinformation is beginning to circulate.

I seek therefore a full disclosure, within reason, of all of the circumstances outlined in 1/13 above.  This is a matter of considerable public interest, and we have not been well served to date with information.

I hope that you are able to oblige, and explain in detail where and why you are unable to be specific."



Here is Laurna's response this morning:

"HI Bill

Thanks for your email.

I'll take this as a LGOIMA as it may take some time to pull some of this information together.

If I can get it to you before the 20 working days, I will.



I realise that this enquiry places the team that has apparently been set up within the Castle to deal with this very large problem under considerable pressure, but I fail to see why it should take 20 days to obtain the information which is pretty straight-forward in anyone's books.

20 days will of course take the provision of the information beyond Christmas and New Year into the 'doldrums' of post New Year when their will be few left in the Castle to handle any 'follow-up.'

It is ironic that the Ombudsman - Peter Boshier, was on Nine-to-Noon this morning, and stated in no uncertain terms that his most important achievement in the two years he has been in the job, has been improve the speed with which Government agencies provide requested information. He further stated that as far as he was concerned, that was the most important requirement of the Act. Twenty days simply does not 'cut the mustard' - sorry Laurna, I know that you CAN take that long, but you should not need to.

Obviously, I have information that has given rise to the questions - I have no idea just how accurate it is, and if I have it, so do others. You would think that the major objective right now would be to establish the veracity of the information, and stop rumours and misinformation from circulating. 

That is how I see it in any case. This 'debacle' has gone on for long enough. It is our rates, and their credibility that is at stake, let alone the confidence of 'pledgers,' and others associated with the project. And don't blame me - I warned of the dangers surrounding this project from the outset when Mary Hamilton was applying what amounted to irresistable pressure to get the Dry Court built.

Those associated with it did nothing to mitigate those dangers - on the contrary, they appear to have enhanced them, and now they, and we, appear to be saddled with a real 'dog,' while having had our precious Thames Urban Purposes Fund dissipated in order to benefit a small pressure group. Someone will need to be called to account before this is all over.    

Update on Friday, December 8, 2017 at 7:52AM by Registered CommenterBill Barclay

Once again, our Council has decided to hide a report designated "Thames Indoor Sports Facility project update" behind the closed doors of 'Public Excluded' at its meeting on 13 December.

Thi report will no doubt contain some very interesting information about the debacle outlined above. But we are are still not permitted to know the content of the report - not even an outline of exactly what is/are the problem(s)

I have been assured that the information requested above will be expidited, I guess that will to a large degree depend on the level of embarrassment.

The sight of the new scaffolding going up around the facility will really be starting to make people wonder what is going on.




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