RICHMOND Valley Council has approved the allocation of an extra $500,000 to finish Casino’s main street upgrade following a blow-out in the project’s $2 million budget.
According to a report tabled at yesterday’s council meeting, a number of factors had contributed to the cost over-run and the extra money is needed to complete the upgrade to the ‘standard planned’.
Those factors included the need for extra drainage to increase the stormwater capacity in Barker Street, unexpected costs associated with installing underground power conduits, and construction delays caused by the protracted wet weather.
Council’s manager of civil operators Paul Radnidge said the need to complete the project before July 1, as required under the terms of the Federal grant, had also played a part in the budget blow-out.
He said the short lead time had meant the project’s initial investigation and planning was ‘not as rigorous’ as normal and construction work had started while the detailed plans and consultation were still being finalised.
“This urgency has created some difficulty in cost control with some components requiring re-work and some unplanned works becoming necessary,” Mr Radnidge said in the report.
Mr Radnidge advised the council against pruning back aspects of the upgrade to save costs.
He said the upgrade had been designed to make the CBD more attractive to shoppers and visitors and support local businesses through improved services.
“The essential social elements of this project including trees, seating, and outdoor eating areas must be retained if the project is to meet its objective of enhancing the CBD,” Mr Radnidge said.
“Accordingly, additional funding to meet the cost over-runs is a better option than reducing the finished standard of the project.”
Mr Radnidge suggested the $500,000 could be met by re-allocating $350,000 in savings from other projects and taking $150,000 from the council’s Petersons Quarry reserve.