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LETTER: Is history about to repeat itself?

SIR, – Prior to the construction of Horsham Aquatic Centre I warned Horsham Rural City Council in writing of a flaw I found in the geotechnical report prepared by a large Melbourne-based geotechnical company.

The council chose to ignore my warning and when the first pier was drilled my warning was found to be well founded, resulting in a huge increase in costs when the number of piers under the building had to be doubled.

I expressed a similar warning for the piers on Horsham’s Anzac footbridge which were realised when failed attempts were made to bore the first pier, again resulting in costly delays and a redesign of the pier installation method.

In February 2018 I wrote to newspapers with a message to the community and councillors expressing serious concerns about the siting of a multi-purpose sports complex near Horsham Basketball Stadium due to deep-seated soil-moisture variations over the site. I had a number of discussions with a senior council officer who, I understood, took my concerns seriously and the project seemed to have died.

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It has now re-appeared as a part of the City to River Master Plan.

Last Wednesday I had a meeting with the council chief executive Sunil Bhalla and we discussed this issue of soil-moisture problems.

Mr Bhalla said he felt the problems could be managed and suggested one method this could be achieved. This suggestion clearly indicated to me that the council really do not have an understanding of the deep-seated nature of soil-moisture variations over this site nor other sporting sites proposed for major changes.

It appears history is about to repeat itself, only on a monumental scale this time if you take into account similar problems in Horsham Showground and with rotating of Horsham City Oval.

These projects will most likely proceed unchanged unless the community expresses its views in large numbers directly to the council, that will convince the council that the community wants these concerns taken seriously.

It seems the council is determined to go ahead with these plans at any cost. I strongly recommend the council explore the option of locating all these sporting facilities in a purpose-created area to the northwest of Horsham where these soil-moisture problems do not exist to the same degree.

I firmly agree with Mr Bhalla on a need to revitalise the City to River precinct and also the need to attract professional people to Horsham. But many parts of this proposal do not support those goals.

My submission to the council – which I will share on social media along with the full version of my questions to the community – contains many positive ideas on using these areas to create a family-friendly City, which I believe will be attractive for people to move to Horsham and also be attractive for local families and tourists to get out and enjoy themselves together.

Leigh Davies, FIEAust, CPEng. NER 



The entire August 28, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire August 28, 2019 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!