August 13 - 19, 2023: Issue 594


Avalon Rec Centre Cracking up, rusting - dunbar park annexe walls green with mould, even after months of no rain

The south-west corner of the main hall in the Avalon Recreation Centre has widening cracks appearing through the brickwork and separating away from the slatted windows in the wall. 

The steel beams above the concertino are also showing signs of rust and fragmentation. Photos taken on Sunday July 30th, along with those taken of the green mould on the exterior walls of the annexe in Dunbar Park, were forwarded to council due to concerns by residents about the deterioration of these community structures.

Council's response is that;

'Council is aware of the cracks in the wall at Avalon and has been monitoring this, and the building’s general condition.  Another formal assessment of the cracks in the wall will be carried out later this year.  Should it be determined that work needs to be done, it will be undertaken and included in Council’s works program.''

With regards to the other maintenance items, these have been directed to Council’s maintenance team to investigate and rectify. ''

Widening cracks (15mm-25mm) are an indication of serious structural damage and classified as a Category 3 crack. Although Council's reply indicates it has determined that work does not need to be done at present, Engineers and Builders have stated Category 3 cracks are important to address immediately as there could be a significant safety issue. 

''As a general rule, cracks within this category shouldn’t be ignored and left untreated. As a minimum, the crack needs to be filled to avoid any potential water ingress, particularly if it is an external wall. The wall  needs to be inspected by a structural engineer to determine what remediation work is required. There is a possibility that a section of this wall needs to be rebuilt.'' an Engineer forwarded the same images told Pittwater Online

''There can be a range of issues which can cause severe cracking, such as; issues with footings and/or concrete pads (subsidence), water ingress, moisture/damp in the walls, concrete cancer and rusting lintels, impact damage, issues associated with the roof frame or other load bearing problems or a concentration of water around the footings.''

The green green walls of the Avalon Annexe, despite no rain

The Recreation Centre's exterior facing Old Barrenjoey road has also undergone a few changes too with the removal of the shading slats on the upper glass windows. These have not replaced and the interior of the stairwell now heats up and stays hot. The change also discontinues the theme that runs throughout the building interior as well.

Pittwater Council days


inside the courtyard of the Avalon Recreation Centre 

This community centre will be 21 years in place this coming September 6th, having been opened by Pittwater Mayor Patricia Giles.

Pittwater Council's 'Pittwater Report', Volume 8, No. 3 of November 2002, announced under 'Avalon's Jewel in the Crown';

'Avalon Recreation Centre opened in September to a fanfare of praise from our community. The beautiful building is designed to be a popular and effective focus for community and recreational activity, and operates seven days a week for a diverse range of interests. It houses a Council Customer Service Centre, Avalon Community Library, an Early Childhood Centre and facilities for hire, including a sports hall, four activity rooms and a meeting room. Residents living north of Mona Vale now have a convenient location at Avalon offering Council information and assistance with general enquiries, applications and payment of accounts.

The building exemplifies Council's commitment to sustainability, with its natural ventilation, use of glass and shades to ensure light without unnecessary heating, louvres to achieve crossflow ventilation, resulting in a light airy environment. This construction process generated a very economic building with low operating and maintenance costs. The old hall was retained and integrated back into the new building, which itself blends into neighbouring Dunbar Park, where the community can enjoy open grassed areas, soon to be further landscaped and beautified.

Avalon Recreation Centre represents a second phase of a significant change in the way Council operates within out community. The first phase was the development of the Pittwater website as a working site which allows residents to deal with Council without leaving home, as part of our policy to make information available to our community 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The second phase is the development of Customer Service Centres - at Warriewood, Avalon, and in the future at Mona Vale - which bring Council closer to our community. Residents who are unable to use the Internet or who wish to have face-to-face contact with an officer, can do so at these centres.

We pay tribute to our dedicated Avalon Community Library volunteers, who have endured two relocations before the final site, which all agree is ''just beautiful''. Hundreds of people have joined the library since opening in the new centre in September. Reading areas are located along the front of the library, affording magnificent views. The library is in the process of changing from a card system to an electronic index, which will improve service for customers. 

Two successful events have already been held in the new centre - Artfest and ''Meet the Authors'' cocktail party - with more booked in the future. A wide variety of hirers ranging from Belly Dancing to Japanese Language are taking advantage of the Centre's natural, relaxed ambience, as well as corporate clients holding training sessions. Please call Judi Wilson on 9970 1273 to book your function or activity at this wonderful building, which is already proving to be a ''hub'' of Avalon life.'

When speaking to Angus Gordon OAM, Engineer and General Manager of Pittwater Council at that time, he said the brief for the new building was to construct something that was both functional and would be geared to create a natural airflow instead of installing air-conditioning, to minimise any costs related to the same.

Alike the Mona Vale Library, also realised under Mr. Gordon, this community asset was built to last a lot longer than 21 years.

A few insights into earlier Avalon Community Centres is available in: Avalon Recreation Centre Celebrations: 20 Years Since The New Building Opened Celebrated - Scout Hall Built By Early Avalon Beach RSL Served As Community Hall From 1954, Avalon Youth & Community Centre Opened November 1968