By Matt Male
MORE than $8m worth of projects managed by the Bass Coast Shire have been delayed or shelved.
The capital works projects include road upgrades, tip expansions, new buildings and better paths that the council promised to finish in the 2017-18 year, but failed to complete.
The six major projects, extending from Phillip Island to Inverloch and down to Pioneer Bay, were all part of the shire’s 2017-18 Budget adopted by councillors more than a year ago.
The major project abandoned, worth $1.7m, was the leasing of office space to the Phillip Island Nature Parks, as part of the Cowes Cultural Centre redevelopment.
The Nature Parks decided, following changes to the lease offer, that it didn’t meet their requirements and the project was scrapped.
The biggest project delayed, with the cost to be shared between council and residents, was the $4.6m Pioneer Bay Special Charge Scheme.
It was pushed back after residents took the council to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
Other projects facing delays include:
• A $1.8m project to add another landfill cell to the Grantville tip was postponed, with the council blaming it on the weather.
• A $350,000 road upgrade along Loch Wonthaggi Road, West Creek was delayed after a consultant report found a possible need to change the scope of works – which requires council to consult further with landowners.
• The council will also spend $160,000 on designs for the Inverloch Surf Parade path after residents voiced concerns about the lack of car parking.
The shire also abandoned a $37,815 project to improve an access path at Norsemens Road, Coronet Bay.
After the council found out it had to complete a costly Cultural Heritage Management Plan, and following a review of works already completed on the track, the project was abandoned.
It ended up costing $5118.
The shire’s happy to boast that it made an almost $10m surplus, although it’s mostly made up of developer-contributed assets.
That’s infrastructure handed over to the shire after estates have been completed.
But their biggest expense continues to be its staff – costing ratepayers more than $28 million last financial year.
The total cost of employing 290 staff is $1m less than they were expecting to spend.
The shire’s attributed that to “tight control over staff replacements and casual vacancies”.
But it’s an increase of $255,000 compared to the previous year.