Progress report for MidCoast Council relocation

The extraordinary meeting was held at the Forster Council Chambers at 10am on January 24.
The extraordinary meeting was held at the Forster Council Chambers at 10am on January 24.

MidCoast councillors have been given an update on the project management arrangements for the MidCoast Council office relocation investigation project for 2 Biripi Way, Taree.

Katrina Pearson was granted permission to address council during the extraordinary meeting on January 24 and said there was outrage in the community about the lack of due diligence.

She asked why no business plan had been made available to the public, saying the lack of community consultation showed a lack of transparency by council.

Cr David Keegan asked at which meeting the tender with a summary of costs and time frames had been presented to council.

Acting general manager Steve Embry said requests for tenders from appropriately qualified and experienced persons to undertake the services of 'project manager' had been sent out before December 25. 

He said there had been no evaluations or assessments. 

Mr Embry said the agreed process was that once the role had been filled, the newly appointed the project manager was to prepare a program budget and come up with a figure for council to agree on as the next stage of the ‘gateway’ process. 

That process was underway, and no further action would ensue until the summary had been approved by council. 

After that would come a capital expenditure review, which would include community consultation, and the funding strategy. He said this information was all included in the December report. 

Cr Len Roberts spoke for the motion, saying that council had approved the gateway process already, and knew all the details.

“We need to approve this, and move on,” he said.

Cr Peter Epov spoke against the motion, saying he was outraged at the idea of a blank cheque. 

Cr Katheryn Smith pointed out that in the December meeting, when the gateway process was approved by council, Cr Epov was not in the minority who voted against it.

“You agreed to this next step,” she said.

The motion to note the update was passed, with councillors Epov and Keegan voting against it.