Councillors grill management after blowout on depot works

Clarence Valley Council deputy GM Rob Donges.
Clarence Valley Council deputy GM Rob Donges.

CLARENCE Valley Council achieved "the biggest failing you can have in project management".

Costs are spiralling for the redevelopment of the Townsend Depot and councillors at this week's committee meeting grilled management.

By his own admission, council deputy general manager Rob Donges conceded the plans for the redevel- opment had not been thought through.

"The biggest failing you can have in project management is that at the start of the project not all parties agree on what you're doing," Mr Donges said.

"That's what happened here."

The initial "plucked" figure given to councillors for the project, which started in 2010, was $1m, which has since increased to nearly $2m.

Now, there is a request for an additional $589,867, which would bring the total cost of the project to about $2.6m.

"Is $2.6m the end of the story?" Cr Andrew Baker asked at Tuesday's meeting

"There could be some other expenditure there that could be beneficial but not required," Mr Donges said.

"Have lessons been learned?" Mayor Richie Williamson asked.

"I believe so," Mr Donges replied.

"We are not enjoying this process at the moment, but it's a process we need to go through.

"If we do another depot development in Grafton there would be a much more collaborative approach at the start.

"I'd much rather tell councillors (the cost) up front so council can make the decision at that point."


General manager Scott Greensill conceded the council needed to look at its project management

The project is to amalgamate two nearby depots into one and the council sold the North Coast Water depot for $560,000 to redevelop the facility at Townsend.

Work was due to be completed by August 2011 but now Mr Donges doesn't expect it to be finished until the first quarter of 2013.

Mr Donges has been asked to report back to the council with funding options for the additional cash.

Topics:  clarence valley council depot

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