Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Treelands tenders too expensive

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Clarence Valley Council (CVC) staff have labelled three tenders for the redevelopment of the Treelands Drive Community Precinct as ‘higher than anticipated’ leaving councillors to vote on whether or not to reject the quotes and delegate to the General Manager to negotiate.

The storied process of the Treelands Drive Community Precinct TDCP dates back to 2006, when council first identified the project.

After community engagement in 2018 helped inform the current design, council proposed selling the prime real estate of Yamba’s Wooli Street Hall and site of the town’s current library, which attracted vocal opposition from locals, including protests and petitions.

Council successfully obtained a $11,107,882 Bushfire Local Economic Recovery BLER grant to contribute to the construction of the project in 2021 and a design tender was awarded in November of that year.

During community engagement in October and November 2022, the community were presented with two options, Option A, the $14.5 million construction of an entirely new centre, or Option B, a $8 million refurbishment and expansion including a new library in the current centre.

After council voted to retain Wooli Street Hall at the December 2022 meeting and investigate a contract variation of Option B, at the February 2023 CVC meeting Option A was again back in the frame as council understood it was the only option that met the BLER grant guidelines.

But the Yamba Community Action Network Yamba CAN Inc. claim this month, that they have discovered via Government Information Public Access (GIPA) requests with the Department of Regional NSW that Option B was a permissible project under the funding scope.

As the council project is valued more than $5 million, when the Northern Regional Planning Panel met on March 14, their decision was unanimous to demolish the centre and approve Option A, after all three council representatives on the panel were excluded from voting as they had previously voted in council decisions about the project.

On April 6, council called for tenders on the project and through the selection process, four companies Alders Constructions, Bennett Construction, Hines Constructions and BARPA were all identified as suitable.

Tenders closed on June 1 and council received responses from three tenderers, Alders Constructions, Bennett Construction and Hines Constructions, but now after council staff have considered these responses, they are recommending councillors decline all the tenders at the July CVC meeting.

At the July 25 CVC meeting, councillors voted on the officer’s recommendation that council:

  1. Decline to accept the tender offers for Request For Tender 22/49 Yamba Community Precinct Project as the tenders received were higher than anticipated.
  2. Not invite fresh tenders, as it is considered that inviting fresh tenders would not attract additional suitable vendors over and above those that have responded to this tender.
  3. Delegate the General Manager or her representative to enter into negotiations with one or more of the tenderers with a view to entering into a contract on terms that are appropriate in relation to the subject matter of the tender.
  4. Consider the outcome of negotiations for Request For Tender 22/49 at an extraordinary Council meeting prior to the next Council meeting.

Due to print deadlines and the scheduling of CVC meetings, the CV Independent will report on the outcome of council’s decision in the August 2 edition.

Clarence Valley Independent 26 July 2023

This article appeared in the Clarence Valley Independent, 26 July 2023.


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