Last night at the fortnightly Council meeting two motions were put forward by Cr Rhoades that both related to the proposed new Civic Centre and Council Chambers in Gordon Street.
The first motion asked Councillors to consider “that all contracts relating to the Cultural & Civic Space proposed for Gordon Street Coffs Harbour in excess of the prescribed tender amount of $250K are to be determined by full council and not under delegated authority.”
A slightly amended version of this was approved unanimously, largely because there seemed to be some uncertainty as to whether the 11 June motion giving delegated authority to sell properties for less than 10% of market value met the requirements of the Local Government Act.
The second motion asked Councillors to ” seek from qualified Independent Consultants and or Quantity Surveyors actual and proper costings to add an additional floor to the existing Council Administration Building. These costs to include separate costings for a fit out.”
There was considerable discussion over the following staff comment on the agenda under the motion; “it is difficult to estimate the funding that is required for this body of work. However, it is anticipated that the likely costs to engage the suitably qualified engineering and building consultants would be in the vicinity of $1m.” (Emphasis added by Outlook).
It was a hotly disputed figure, with Mr Steve Gooley, speaking in favour of the motion, questioning that it could be so expensive and arguing $150, 000 at the most would be a far more realistic figure.
It became apparent from a statement made by the Acting General Manager that the $1m stated was a figure generated internally within Council without any apparent recourse to an externally sourced quote from a licenced quantity surveyor or similar.
After considerable debate that approving the motion was necessary so that councillors had all possible information for making decisions affecting ratepayer’s funds as required under the Local Government Act the vote was tied 4-4 once again.
Councillors Amos, Arkan, Rhoades and Swan voted for the motion and Councillors Addendorff, Ceccatto, Knight and Townley voted against it.
Mayor Knight used her casting vote, once again, to defeat the motion.
This vote result came on the same day that news was released that a major city investor, Gowings, had expressed reservations about including the Council Chambers in the new Gordon Street building, a fact Mr Gooley highlighted in his speech. See; https://coffscoastoutlook.com.au/no-to-council-chambers-in-gordon-street-gowings/
Coffs Coast Outlook has also learned that the RMS has submitted a number of concerns pertaining to the Gordon Street DA proposal too.
The RMS has highlighted that emergency vehicle access is not big enough, disabled parking is limited, and that traffic control plan issues and pedestrian access and paths as curently proposed overall were all problematic in their opinion.
The RMS DA submission to the Department of Planning referred to above is reproduced in the two pictures below;