Too much rock to roll
Monday, 22nd August, 2011
By John Casey
Broken Hill’s new multi-million dollar shopping centre will be open for business next year, according to project developer Steve Palyga from Leasecorp.
Despite a suspension of work at the old Globe Timber Mill site for the past three weeks, Mr Palyga said he was “confident” the project would overcome its present hurdles and ultimately become a “good news story” for Broken Hill.
“In a best case scenario work could recommence on the site before the end of the month,” Mr Palyga said from Adelaide yesterday.
“I understand that when people see we have pulled trucks off the site that rumours will circulate, but I can assure you we are determined to finish this venture.
“Leasecorp has a track record of delivering retail projects at Seaford (SA), Angle Vale and Clare and every project has its own hurdles to overcome.
“This is nothing new to us and our experience will help us overcome the issues in Broken Hill.”
At present Leasecorp is dissatisfied with the progress and cost of the removal of rock at the BH site and is exploring its options.
“We have a budget for this first phase of the development and we need to rein in our costs at the moment,” Mr Palyga continued.
Leasecorp had initially estimated its build cost for the shopping centre at $18m.
While admitting that the timeframe for the project “had slipped” from its initial estimate of an opening around Easter 2012, Mr Palyga indicated the second half of next year was still a realistic target.
“I’d estimate the middle of next year - after June 30 rather than before - is still within reach for the opening.
“The builder we have contracted has given us a timeframe of nine months for the build and then there would be the internal fit-out to follow.”
BH firm Northern Earthmovers has been contracted to remove rock from the site, but Mr Palyga said he was “not happy” with the fixed price quote to remove the remainder of the rock.
“We want to get this project built as quickly and cost-effectively as possible - we are no different from any other developer,” Mr Palyga explained.
“We are now looking at our options both in Broken Hill and outside the city to get work re-started at the site.
“I hope that work can start sooner rather than later, but I am prepared to wait until I have a deal I am satisfied with. It is cheaper to pay holding costs than pay more than budget for the work.”
Northern Earthmovers owner George Baust said he had encountered “definitely more rock than had been anticipated”.
“But that is no reason to stop the project completely and I’m confident that work will re-commence and that the project will go ahead,” Mr Baust said.
“I am doing all I can to get this back up and running, but we are unable to reach agreement (with Leasecorp) at the moment.”
Mr Baust said he had been operating at the site “since the end of February” and had employed up to eight men operating various plant such as excavators, graders, water trucks and tippers.
City Council said it was considering a range of new proposals for the removal of the rock but blasting was “not one of them”, Council’s Group Manager of Sustainability, Peter Oldsen, said.
“The proposals are for the use of expanding materials that are inserted into holes which then crack the rocks, similar to what mining companies have used in certain applications,” Mr Oldsen explained.
“There has been no proposal to use blasting at that site - and there isn’t a council in the country that would approve blasting in such a location so close to a residential area anyway.”