A break down of documented costs related to Station Street point to a budget blow out of more than $32 million according to Wingecarribee Shire Councillor Garry Turland.
Cr Turland provided an extensive list of monies already spent, and those expected to be spent to complete both stage one and two of the proposed Station Street upgrade project at the first Ordinary Meeting of Council of 2021 on February 10, 2021.
Cr Turland said all figures were outlined in ongoing council documentation related to the Station Street project.
In a timeline of changing budget for the work associated specifically with stage one of the project he said the official costings had changed from $9.5m in September 2017 to $18.262m in November 2020.
The 2020 figure included the cost of purchasing land at Mittagong for an additional car park which is part of an agreement with State Rail.
Cr Turland said that by December 9 2020, councillors were advised in a briefing that the budget could blow out to $32m.
He said this was an increased of $13.938m on the official costing identified just two months earlier.
Cr Turland's cost breakdown for stage one included both the specific updated budget for Station Street, the forecasted increase mentioned in the December briefing and associated works. The costings listed are:
- Updated budget - $18.262m
- Wattle Street car park - $3m (completed in 2020)
- Kirkham Road North South - $5m
- Purchase of state rail land at Bowral - $0.5m
- Purchase of land at Mittagong for additional parking - $1m
- New water main in Station Street - $1.6m
- Further budget increase identified in December 2020 briefing - $13.938m
The total adds up to $43.3m.
Cr Truland also referenced 'unfunded works' associated with the project. They are:
- New bridge over Wingecarribee Street - $12m
- Stage 2 Bowral Street to Links Road - $15m
He pointed out that this would take the overall project to $70.3m.
Cr Turland said the Mittagong land purchase was independent to the November figure.
He said he understood there was a December 2021 deadline to spend the original $7.5 made available under the Illawarra Infrastructure Fund grant and it could not be used on other projects.
Southern Highland News contacted acting general manager Barry Paull and Mayor Duncan Gair with several questions.
- Councillor Turland listed several figures outlined in ongoing council documentation related to the project costings. Are these figures correct?
- Are some of the costings bundled in with the Station Street when they were budgeted separately?
- Will council do a comprehensive re-evaluation of the project before moving forward?
- Is there a possibility that the original funds could be lost by council based on the understanding there was a 2021 deadline to use the funds?
- What is the deadline?
- Can the funds be redirected to any other project?
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