The recent disclosure of the budget blowout from $870,000 to $1,129,515 for Maclean’s Argyle St car park is of concern. From memory, that’s more than twice the cost per car space of the car park constructed behind the Maclean Library on a site with very similar sub-strata.
There is no reasonable excuse for this blow out in costs. The constructor’s discovery of an “unanticipated” sub strata condition is unacceptable and it suggests that those responsible had not conducted the appropriate soil testing and site investigations prior to contracting out the work. Given that extensive site investigations had already been carried out on the adjacent supermarket site on the same river flood plain as the Argyle St site, someone should have known a lot better.
It appears that Council has yet again badly miscalculated and converted a minor works into a major project together with the associated blow out in costs and program. But the proposed source of funding for this blow out now compounds the error and highlights the kind of inconsistency that has become so characteristic of Clarence Valley Council.
Last month, Council quite correctly rejected a request from the Grafton Chamber of Commerce for $50,000 to fund CCTV for private businesses. That same Council will now draw down the Maclean and Districts Improvements Reserve to pay for the car park for a privately owned supermarket, to be constructed on a site rejected by the community but favored by a handful people who own adjacent businesses.
Ian Saunders (B Eng M Eng Sc Grad Dip Mgt)
Greater Maclean Community Action Group