Pool project powering on

By PETER CATON

MURWILLUMBAH'S new swimming pool complex and three-storey car park is set to get the official go ahead today with the best tender price coming in just short of $16 million, including GST.

But other shire projects are likely to be put on the backburner because of cost blow-outs in the project.

The council's three administrators will today consider a recommendation from staff that Multispan Pty Ltd, which built the new Tweed Art Gallery in Murwillumbah, be awarded the contract at the GST-exclusive price of $14.46 million.

To find the money for the project staff have recommended shelving $300,000 of bridge works across the shire, $300,000 of drainage works, the planned new Tweed Heads Museum , upgrading the Kingscliff Poll and upgrading Knox Park in Murwillumbah.

In 2004, consultants had estimated redevelopment of the Memorial Swimming Pool Complex would cost just $7.6 million, but by June last year that had blown out to $9.1 million and the council administrators allowed $13.6 million when they adopted the latest budget last month.

The administrators have been told it is important the contract be awarded during August to ensure the pool is re-opened for the start of the 2008-2009 swimming season. Because the contract allows for a 52-week construction period the pool complex will be closed during the 2007-2008 season.

The council had invited the public to say whether they supported cutting other council works or axing parts of the pool and car park development.

Out of 51 submissions from individuals and community groups, 28 called for the council to push ahead with the complete project and shelve other works while 14 called for the project to be trimmed.

Nine submissions suggested alternative options, including scrapping the whole project.

The complete project now favoured by officers includes the three-storey car park adjacent to the pool.

The pool facility would host an upgraded 50 metre pool, a hall enclosing a new hydrotherapy pool, new heated learn-to-swim pool and new four lane, 25 metre heated pool, as well as a new diving pool, new leisure pool and a new grandstand.



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