Objections cause delays to rescue tower

COMPLAINTS made during the tender process for Marine Rescue Ballina's new state-of-the-art tower have caused further delays to the project.

Tenders for the new search and rescue co-ordination centre closed in October last year.

Ballina Shire Council's evaluation panel then short-listed five companies, which were asked to submit detailed information, given the complex nature of the project.

The council's general manager, Paul Hickey, said three companies were selected for the final shortlist after that information was received.

But the other two companies complained they had not made the final three.

"They complained that the culling process for the selection of that three was unreasonable," he said.

"We then asked Department of Public Works to complete a review of that culling process to ensure it was fair and reasonable.

"The report from Public Works identified there was some ambiguity in the tender submission part of that process.

"This being the case, we have provided extra time for the short-listed companies to provide further information to ensure all five companies are treated equally and fairly."

Mr Hickey said detailed tender submissions now closed on January 15.

Two or three tenderers will then be short-listed and will make presentations to the councillors before a preferred tenderer is recommended to the February council meeting."

An allocation of $1.75 million has been set aside for the project in the council's 2013/14 budget.

However at this stage it is not known whether that will be enough money.

Mr Hickey said it would depend on whether the new tower would be basic or would also include meeting rooms, a cafe or viewing area.

It is expected that a new building would include an operations and radio room on the top level, with unobstructed views of the river and river mouth, Lighthouse Beach and South Ballina Beach.

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