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Civic Centre building passes inspection

Thursday, 12th July, 2018

Mayor Darriea Turley in front of the Civic Centre yesterday. PICTURE: Emily Roberts Mayor Darriea Turley in front of the Civic Centre yesterday. PICTURE: Emily Roberts

By By Emily Roberts

The Civic Centre is open for business after the announcement the building has received its Certificate of Occupancy.

Council has been granted full occupation of the Civic Centre after the facility passed an inspection yesterday.

The beleaguered $5.1 million project has suffered a string of setbacks since it began in 2016, including design flaws, an asbestos scare and a legal battle with the original builders.

Mayor Darriea Turley said it was a great relief to have all major work completed.

“The Broken Hill Civic Centre has received its certification and occupancy certification,” she said.

“That means we are open for business, we will be taking bookings, we are looking forward to hosting the Civic Ball.

“For all of us it has been a long road to get to this stage.

“From all of us, from the previous Council to this Council we didn’t expect the problems that we would have.

“We didn’t expect going to an old building that was built in the 70s what would we discover.

“We didn’t expect the complexity of it all.

“I want to thank James Roncon and the staff for all they have done to achieve this.”

More than 600 defects were found that still needed to be fixed, when Council changed builders.

“I want to thank the community for its patience, it’s been over two years waiting,” Mayor Turley said.

“We’ve tried to keep the community connected to the issues.

“There’s still a lot of issues to be resolved, we can’t talk about them; they are about the legal issues.

“However we’ve learned many valuable lessons from this project, and we’ll continue to pursue some lingering legal matters relating to the refurbishment, but for now we just want to focus on reopening the centre and returning it to public use.

“The inconvenience to the community was our main concern.”

General Manager James Roncon said it would be premature to discuss the excess cost to the community that the project has caused.

“We’re still just finalising those figures, but obviously it would be a little premature to be able to discuss that,” he said.

“One of the key criteria we had was we were handed a building that had a significant amount of work that needed to be done to get it to this point.

“Probably the cost of doing that was secondary (to getting it open), but we always had in the back of our mind that we would work with our legal team to get that money back.

“That litigation we have launched against the previous builder will be about making sure that the money we have spent; we can recoup.”

Mr Roncon said Council were given back a building in August last year and were told it was ready for use.

But when they went through it, they tried to get certification - it showed it was far from it.

“We tried to deal with the original builder to get those things, that wasn’t happening to the speed and level we required.

“In the end we were forced to terminate that contract and utilise the services of another builder.”

Mr Roncon said it was a credit to the new builders that they were able to get the work done.

“They started with that work in April and gave the builders a drop date of June 30.

“They said okay and they hit it by June 29, it’s a credit to them they’ve been able to stick to the original design.

“They had to peel a lot of layers back to fix up a lot things that needed to be fixed, but they have done that.”

The Civic Centre will open to the public on August 5.

“Broken Hill will be able to see, on August 5 we will have an open day,” Mayor Turley said.

“It will be a day of celebration.”

In the lead up to the Open Day the centre will undergo cleaning and other final touches.

The Open Day will be held between 12pm-4pm on Sunday, August 5, and staff will be on hand to answer questions from those touring the facility.

Refreshments and light snacks will be provided, and coffee will be available on the Civic Centre Plaza.

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