The civic centre upgrade is set to blow out by $850,000, increasing the cost from $2 million to $2.85 million.
Councillors voted to adopt the proposal to modify the scope of the Civic Centre Refurbishment project by $850,000 after numerous opportunities to improve the functionality of the building was explored.
The report highlighted floorspace constraints which did not provide space for council's workforce and provided limited storage.
Some of the opportunities to update the layout included the civic meeting areas and the potential to integrate with the council chambers located on the first floor. The new layout would also create more storage space.
The money will be be funded through additional loan borrowings in the 2020/21 Budget.
Acting general manager Barry Paull spoke briefly on the refurbishment project.
"There's an opportunity in terms of putting floorspace over the theatrette and what is the organisation development office. So it sits behind the rim and runs across the back of the building," he said.
"At this point, that space would only be storage space. So it will be a floor area and lighting. The proposal behind the council chamber or what is called the civic centre, that's an area that was always going to have floor space but we didn't have the funding in the budget to fit it out.
"We are now suggesting that there is an opportunity to fit it out and provide alternative accommodation which allows council rooms, the mayor's office, a break out room for councillors and meeting space or space for an information session all located in that precinct behind the council chambers.
"There will also be some additional space for the administration staff. So the proposal before you is that we do this now, finish this project once and for all. The space over the theatrette is for future growth. Moving the councillors over the civic precinct will free up space in the building downstairs.
"It offers a lot of opportunities to improve the functionality of the building. It would be a lesser cost than if we came back and retrofitted this at a later time."
Mayor Duncan Gair said he firmly believed the refurbishment was the way to go.
"Councillors have championed have the fact that money has never been at a better rate and we are improving a public asset," he said.
"I think the civic centre will be seen as, 'if we don't do anything then we can't look after our own building but if we do anything council is building a monument to themselves.'
"But let's face it, 1971 was a long time ago in relation to the age of this building. We are going to utilise the space and as it has been pointed out by more qualified people on council than me, you do it when you can and now we can.
"Let's finish the project and be proud of the finished product."
Councillor Scandrett said he would vote against the recommendation to support the increase in project cost.
"We have more than $423 million in unfunded projects and it is beyond me to understand why this budget for the northern side - the side that is important to do now for access purposes - wasn't put in the budget," he said.
"The work on the southern side of the old library behind the civic centre and chamber can be fitted out at any time. I just think that there are so many other projects that deserve our attention and I note that you're happy to borrow for this so I hope in the briefing session we have in the new year we go into the budget and see the same thing.
"There's halls, sports grounds, lights on sports grounds and upgrades to playgrounds all over the shire that deserve attention. You say here Mr Mayor that we can't look after our own building if we don't do this. Well, I haven't been on council for 26 years, I've been here for nine years and I have watched the drips and leaks in the chamber continually.
"I've watched the window frames around the building rot away because there's been no proactive maintenance there and I think in a sense is irresponsible of us to maintain the building regularly, after all, we are asset managers."
Councillors Gair, Peter Nelson, Garry Turland, Grahame McLaughlin, Graham Andrews, Larry Whipper voted for the $850,000 upgrade.
Councilors Scandrett and Ken Halstead voted against it.
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