Massive energy upgrade project couldn't come at better time
CAIRNS construction company Bryan Building Contractors has won the first contracts for a $42 million redevelopment of Ergon's inner-city facilities - and it could not come at a better time.
The city is in desperate need of a succession of big projects to keep the construction industry ticking over through to the other side of the COVID-19 crisis.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Ergon upgrades would be a major boost to the industry and its employees in a time of need.
"This project will create more than 360 jobs - that's great news for those families, great news for Cairns and great news for the economy," she said.
Work is scheduled to start today to modernise the McLeod St depot buildings, with construction of the new Swallow Rd warehouse to follow in May.
It coincides with the May-November closure of the Cairns Convention Centre to allow work to start on a $176 million expansion plan.
That project alone is expected to create 570 jobs in Cairns, as well as ongoing employment opportunities in hospitality, logistics, security and maintenance.
Cairns MP Michael Healy and Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt backed the Ergon investment.
"The existing depot is in a central location for Ergon Energy crews to respond to outages and serve customers across the region, so it made sense to refurbish ageing buildings rather than relocate," Mr Healy said.
"The first stage of the project will see the original Cairns powerhouse site and surrounding area transformed into a training delivery centre office and workshop, adjacent to the existing training yard."
Work on the McLeod St project is expected to be completed by December.
The depot is a base for 153 Ergon Energy staff across a range of business functions.
Mr Pitt said the new warehouse would be a distribution hub for the Far North, storing power poles, cables and other equipment to supply communities from the Torres Strait to Tully and west to Normanton.
"The facility will also be used as an alternative staging post for Ergon crews supporting the community during severe weather events and other major emergencies," he said.
Originally published as Massive energy upgrade project on the way for Cairns