No short cuts despite blow-out

AS THE Ballina Shire Council struggles to manage its ‘tightest budget ever', one of its most important projects has blown out by $300,000.

Preliminary works for the upgrade of Alstonville's Main Street started last week.

The entire project was originally estimated to cost $2.5 million, but senior staff within the council has now admitted that figure is likely to be closer to $2.8 million.

And it is not known how the council will make up the shortfall.

General manager Paul Hickey said the issue would be discussed at next month's council meeting.

However, he confirmed the council still planned to go ahead with all aspects of the upgrade.

“We are planning to do a report in July on all the major project cost updates. There have been increases at Alstonville, and the Lennox Head Community Centre willalso be facing increases,” Mr Hickey said.

“We will be looking at how we finance these increases.”

The cost of the Main Street upgrade has increased be-cause detailed designs are now complete and most of the pricing has been confirmed.

This includes installation and supply of pavers at a cost of $367,000.

Cr David Wright said the community wanted the job done properly and that the added cost would be worth it.

“We have $2.5 million in the budget, but now everything has been priced,” he said.

“I'm quite certain that out of the community infrastructure fund the money will be there.

“This project has started.

“Once you start work on a project, you find extra costs that weren't planned.

“But it's also possible the upgrade will cost less than $2.8 million.

“The upgrade of the main street will secure the future of Alstonville, it really will.

“It's an investment in the whole plateau.

“There's a need to do it properly and we must find the money for this project, especially because the Alstonville bypass project is rapidly nearing completion.”

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