Rock causes ripple in aquatic centre funding

Inspecting construction at the new Lismore Sports and Aquatic Centre on Tuesday afternoon were (front l-r) Cr Jenny Dowell, Lismore City Council special projects engineer Lucas Bridgeway and Cr Vanessa Ekins with (rear l-r) Cr Barry Crimmins, Councils executive director of infrastructure services Garry Hemsworth, Cr Frank Swientek, Councils corporate compliance co-ordinator Graeme Wilson, Councils general manager Paul OSullivan, Councils sport and recreation project officer James Voght, Cr David Tomlinson, mayor Merv King, Councils contracts administration officer Ross Davies and the construction manager from Spantech, Simon Barker.

The project formerly known as the Goonellabah Recreation Centre is going to cost Lismore City Council $400,000 more than expected.

Visiting the site of the recently named Lismore Sports and Aquatic Centre, opposite the Goonellabah shopping centre on Tuesday, Council General Manager Paul OSullivan said the $17 million project had hit a couple of unexpected costs but that wasnt unusual in a project of that size.

Water tanks for recycling water from the roof, some minor fitout refinements, a bed of rock underneath the site, construction of an electricity substation, a covered setdown area and BBQ facilities were the main contributors to the extra cost.

This is the biggest single project this Council has undertaken, it seems to be progressing well, Mr OSullivan said. The name change is deliberate, it is a Lismore facility. Sure theres a demographic in Goonellabah that will easily be able to access it without needing public transport but its for everyone in the Lismore area and it will provide facilities that arent available through Council anywhere else.

Despite the delay starting construction because of weather constraints in January and February both Council project manager Lucas Bridgeworth and on-site construction manager Simon Barker of Spantech said they were confident of making the proposed finishing date of December 12, 2008.

Every week we lose is costing us big but the weather is the single biggest factor, Mr Barker said. Im completely happy and well keep plodding along unless we have more weather delays.

Mr OSullivan also said the federal government was reviewing all requests for funding under the Regional Partnerships scheme and that Council may have to use borrowings to cover the $680,000 it had previously been promised by the Howard government.

Mr OSullivan said a full report about funding for the LSAC would be presented to Council at a workshop on May 6.

Also due to financial constraints Mr OSullivan said construction of the skate park at the Oliver Avenue end may be delayed and regeneration of Tucki Creek may have to be postponed or funding found from an alternative source.

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