Shellharbour hub halted by contract delay

Plans to award the construction contract for the controversial Shellharbour City Hub project in August have been delayed by two months due to ‘‘a value engineering exercise’’.

Shellharbour City Council will lodge the development application for the $57 million hub project next week. It will be determined by the Joint Regional Planning Panel.

August 2014 has long been identified as the key date in the city hub process, when the stage known as ‘‘Milestone No 4’’ will be reached and a decision made whether to award a construction contract.

However Shellharbour general manager Michael Willis said a delay had been caused by the ‘‘extensive amount’’ of work needed to complete the development application. He said a report on a construction contract due for the August meeting would now be presented in October.

The council said the design of the City Hub had been the subject of a ‘‘value engineering exercise’’ to ensure the design complied with specifications and that the construction estimate was within the project budget, ‘‘an exercise that was successful at meeting both objectives’’.

Last week councillors Peter Moran and Kellie Marsh, who both oppose the project,  raised concerns that just one of five properties to be sold to help fund the new building had changed hands.

The council aims to get $35million from the sale of assets to put towards the hub.

Last year, the council collected $1.58million from the sale of 1.38hectares of land on Pioneer Drive, Oak Flats, to Transport for NSW for the new section of the commuter car park.

Other properties earmarked for sale to fund the hub are the council’s administration building, known as Lamerton House, and the parcel of land beside it known as Lot 3000, the former council chambers and administration centre in Warilla and a 42.25-hectare site between the western edge of Albion Park and Tullimbar Village, which has development approval for 284 housing lots and three super lots.

Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba was confident the sales would occur and said the process was continuing as anticipated.

 She said  Tullimbar was nearing completion,  the Warilla site had begun its process,  and Lamerton House was being left till last based on  current needs.

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