Letters to the editor | March 2, 2018

Stadium site needs work

I WRITE with serious concerns over the siting of the proposed multi-use indoor stadium.

I have had more than 50 years’ experience in the field of civil engineering including major civil projects in Australia and overseas and have supervised World Bank and Australian Aid Projects.

I returned to Horsham more than 30 years ago and have had partial involvement with many major projects in Horsham during that period.

Some of those projects include the Horsham Aquatic Centre, the foot bridge over the Wimmera River and the Horsham North Children’s Hub. For the first two, my documented warnings of impending problems were not addressed resulting in serious additional costs to these projects. For the third, my concerns were considered resulting in a redesign of the footings for the hub building.

It is understand Horsham Rural City Council will shortly make a final decision on using the basketball stadium site for the proposed multi-use stadium without an awareness of what is below the ground which will literally support the whole project.

It seems incomprehensible to me to find that no deep site investigation work has been carried out on this site until just recently and that the results have only just become available. 

My company carried out investigation work on this site as one of the options being proposed for the Horsham Aquatic Centre and we also carried out more recent investigation for extension works to the basketball stadium so I am familiar with the problems associated with using this site and can advise that it is not suitable for some of the important uses being proposed.

Some of the problems with the site are the significant deep soil moisture variations across the site and the deep filled soils. This will mean all buildings will need to be constructed on piers and that the outdoor courts and car parks will experience serious movement variations in the future which will be difficult if not impossible to overcome. I am also not aware that any contamination studies have been carried out on the fill which is normal practice.

There is no question that this facility would be good for Horsham and everything about this project seems to have been well researched apart from this one most important exception.

I have prepared feasibility reports for some of the large projects previously mentioned and it is normal practice to include the site investigation as a part of this early work as proper cost estimates and feasibility cannot be prepared without knowing the deep soil conditions.

There are also many other serious concerns about the use of this site for the multi-purpose stadium and indeed about some design aspects of the buildings, but this concern alone, that deep site investigation work has not been available for council consideration to date should be enough to raise serious awareness as to the problems associated with continuing along the same lines as at present.

My concerns were made known to the council in July 2017 after I became aware of the advanced stages of the project by a mother of three children coming into their teenage years who has her own worries about this project and the future use by her children and also the apparent lack of foresight as to future expansion of the facilities. I expressed these concerns again in October 2017.  

I am not associated with any other group or individual but am acting on the awareness made by this lady. I have no wish to upset or offend anyone and that is certainly not the intention although I understand there will be those with different views. I am presenting this statement out of genuine concern for the direction that this project is heading.

My hope is that presenting these insights will raise the communities awareness and that the council will take seriously the need to consider other available options on the basis of this information.

Leigh Davies, Horsham

Keep the Hornet’s nest 

I AM not a current member of the Horsham Amateur Basketball Association and it is 40 years since I played and coached in their stadium.

But I fully support the association with their stance against the Horsham Rural City Council’s plans to upset local basketball by taking their building away from them.

I would like to offer this slogan to the association: “Don’t disturb the Hornet’s nest; build the new stadium where it is best.” 

Barry Barnett, Horsham

Paying tribute to Ron 

IN THE warm autumn sun, among the native pines of the small Quantong cemetery, hundreds of people gathered to say farewell to a Wimmera gentleman.

Most of Ron Klemm’s best work is buried underground and no-one will ever get to see it. You see, Ron worked with water and for as long as I knew him, he was either laying pipes or fixing pumps.

What Ronnie didn’t know about water pumps – of all ages – simply wasn’t worth knowing. The call-outs to fix a pump were interminable, at all hours and throughout the year.

His skill with the trenching machine was to be admired and his fitness shown, on the end of a shovel, was impressive.

As the crowd dispersed from the cemetery and his loving family grieved, I wondered how many places in this dusty, dry part of the world have been improved by the work of this big man with a big heart. 

I am sure he has made all our lives a little greener in many ways.

Thanks, Ronnie.

Mark Radford, Quantong 


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