Town Hall cash boost

The Civic Precinct project has been allocated another $300,000 to replace Town Hall flooring. Photo by Laura Green

Edward River Council councillors this week allocated another $300,000 to the Civic Precinct project to carry out the necessary replacement of the Town Hall flooring.

Councillors voted 6-1 at the council meeting to allocate the funding from council funds.

Council’s general manager Phil Stone said the funds were the first to come from council for the $4.2 million project and was considered important.

Mr Stone said the project contractors advised council new flooring, not included in the original scope of works, would be required to ensure the hall was fit for purpose.

“Replacement of the floor substructure such as piers and bearers had been planned, however the floor has not held up since the building works began,” Mr Stone said.

“So, unfortunately, we need to replace the whole floor.

“This is a necessary step we need to take to make sure it’s a state of the art building.”

Mr Stone said while council had contributed $2 million towards the entire $7.8 million Civic Precinct project — which includes the Town Hall, Estate building and alterations to the council headquarters — this was the first council money that had been allocated to the Town Hall part of the project.

All of the other funding for the Town Hall came through several different NSW and federal governments grants.

“This is the only variation of the budget (for the Town Hall) we’ve requested,” Mr Stone said.

“The hall (work) has been completely funded by the state and federal governments. The only money ratepayers are putting in is this $300,000 now for the new floor.”

Work started on the Town Hall project in August-September 2020.

Mr Stone said while it was initially planned to take 12-18 months, the completion date had been delayed “for up to a year”.

Part of the delays came from council applying for and receiving more government funding after the project began, thus allowing council to do more work.

“It is not over budget. I understand why people think it is as funding has been added as the project has gone on,” Mr Stone said.

COVID-19 delays in being able to access materials for the project have caused time delays for the project, while also pushing up prices, according to Mr Stone.

However, he said despite “major increases in prices for building materials”, council had been able to “absorb” these extra costs.

The works on the Town Hall are now expected to be finished by the end of September, with the hall to be open for use in October, according to Mr Stone.

“We are committed to ensuring we deliver the best facility for our residents as possible,” Mr Stone said.

“It really will be a state of the art facility, with sound-proofing, new lighting, new retractable seating, new change rooms, bathroom facilities and a new foyer.”