What did our new recreation centre really cost?
THE BIG question being asked is what did our new Toodyay Recreation Centre cost?
The answer is that this administration has not yet had sufficient time to examine in detail the planning and earthworks costs incurred in the six years prior to June 2019.
The construction cost since June 2019 is $14,997,723 less $33,469 for a cylinder mower.
This amount does not include the land purchase and money spent on design, construction plans or earthworks prior to two WA Treasury Corporation loans that the shire secured in June 2019.
However, the project was commenced well before June 2019.Read more
Costs began in the 2013-14 financial year when the shire purchased 13ha of land near Toodyay District High School for $1,675,000 using shire funds and a new $1 million Treasury Corporation loan.
Part of the money was allocated to Peter Hunt Architects in 2014 to develop a design master plan.
A shire business case in February 2017 identified project costs totalling $23.1 million for Stage One accompanied by whole-of-life costings.
The Stage One plans were scaled down after cost estimates were revised in December 2017 and funding outcomes known.
Two interest-only WA Treasury loans totalling $4.5 million were obtained after June 2019 to fund the revised Stage One construction phase.
Those two short-term loans are planned to be converted by June 23 this year to a single long-term loan over the 20 years.
The two loans – combined with $6,722,957 in grants and $3,756,635 of shire funds – provided a total of $14,979,593 for construction.
Total budget was $14,967,962 plus ‘in-kind’ contributions from local contractors.
The actual build cost of $14,997,723 – minus $33,469 for the mower – meant that construction was completed $3708 below budget last year.
Though costs were known throughout the construction period, actual amounts spent were required to be confirmed by acquittal.
The shire engaged a quantity surveyor to ensure all quantities of invoiced materials were accounted for.
The invoices were then assessed against the project’s budget and quotes.
This work would normally be done by the Shire Manager of Finance.
However, staff changes, the transfer of all shire financial and other records to a new Datascape digital management system and the shire budget required that the CEO undertake the acquittals.
All work now done and paid for
All works are now completed and paid for.
The balance owed on the two loans to pay for the new facility is anticipated to be $744,371 and $4.5 million as at June 30 this year – a total of $5,244,371.
Management of the facility is undertaken through a management plan that involves shire staff and venue manager Clublinks.
This includes monthly management meetings at which reports are received.
Annual operating costs remain projections until the facility has been open for a full year.
The early opening of the pool last year was undertaken with legal advice and direction to allow the school full use of the facilities.
Clublinks bore the risk.
An oversight occurred in setting fees and charges.
Once identified, immediate advice was sought, followed by legal advice about implications and management.
The response took longer than anticipated but once received, the shire acted on the advice promptly and accordingly.
This construction has been the largest project ever undertaken by the shire.
Staff are to be commended in achieving a project under budget in such difficult circumstances as presented to them by 2020.
Local government not easy
Local government is not easy in its demands of time, pressures and responsibilities.
Internal operational demands and external factors often conspire to provide onerous conditions for success.
2020 and this one so far are such times, and I thank staff and councillors for their outstanding commitment to the community they serve.
In this context, I would like to thank former Cr Paula Greenway for her eight years of service and achievements in tourism, transport, and the retention of the AvonLink.
Cr Greenway resigned on April 30 and we wish her well to pursue her passions, with time to pause and reflect on her achievements.