City project moves $2m closer

SHELLHARBOUR City Council is edging towardsthe final steps in the design, construction and funding phase of the City Hub project.

In a meeting last week, the council agreed on a $4 million sale price for the old Warilla council chambers and Warilla library, and identified Sydney company ADCO Constructions for Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) on the Hub to secure a fixed lump sum price. The council will spend $196,000 in consultation with ADCO.

General manager Michael Willis said the hub design was around 70 per cent complete and the ECI was an appropriate stage in developing a detailed design for the complex.

Fifteen firms submitted an expression of interest, and four were shortlisted. Mr Willis stressed the decision did not mean the council had committed to award the full contract to design and build the hub.

Councillor John Murray said the ECI would help council "stack up the dollars".

"This is just a responsible step in the process to make sure we are very clear on what the costs on this project are, so we can make a decision with all the information, when the time comes."

The old council chambers and library was sold to CEL Superannuation Fund. The council confirmed the sale of the sites at Warilla saying they "realised their forecast value".

The council expects to receive more than $35 million from the sale of five assets to help fund the $57 million hub project.

So far, the council has received $1.55 million from the sale of Oak Flats Commuter Car Park and $2 million from the sale of old Warilla Chambers and library will go to the hub. The remaining $2 million will be used for the development of a new branch library.

Councillor Peter Moran said this would create a shortfall in the hub funding model.

"For council to meet its gross asset sale targets, we now need to collect an extra $2.3 million from the sale of the remaining three assets [Lamerton House, Lot 3000 and the Tullimbar lands]," he said.

He said council staff had no idea of the actual cost of replacing the library.

The sale includes an 18-month lease back of the library, with a possible six-month possible extension while the council investigates alternative sites for a Warilla library. The council is working with RSL representatives on a new location for the Freedom Wall and Peace Grove, nowy located outside the old council chamber.