Council to move office

WELLINGTON Shire Council has confirmed it has bought the office building on the corner of Foster and Desailly Sts, Sale, for $3.95 million.

The building, completed under control of receivers KordaMentha following the collapse of Macalister Constructions, had been available for some months in an open administrators tender process.

Council plans to permanently relocate its administration offices and customer service centre, leaving its Port of Sale Civic Centre available for redevelopment.

Cr Scott Rossetti said he was pleased to make this formal announcement following months of speculation regarding the new office building.

“We have kept the tender process as commercial in-confidence in order to protect the financial interests of all concerned,” he said.

“For some months within the council chamber we have been kept up to date on the building’s progress, as we do with all large developments within our shire.

“This one was of particular interest to us.

“This building offered the potential for us to bring more staff together in council-owned property.

“A number of our staff currently work in leased office spaces.

“It makes notably better long term business sense for us to own rather than lease all of our offices.

“At $3.95 million, we have secured the property for significantly less than the cost of its replacement value.”

Cr Rossetti said the new building would provide a greater level of functionality than the Port of Sale.

“Though appearing as a stylish modern building on the outside, it offers a simple, basic, practical and accessible open plan internal space for us to better serve our community,” he said.

“Accessibility and functionality are currently lacking at the Port of Sale.

“We have been aware for some time that significant outlay would be required in the near future in order to make pressing improvements to our current accommodation.

“Relocating our administration centre into this new building enables us to afford these major improvements to our day-to-day operations and the way we provide services to our community almost immediately.”

Cr Rossetti said council’s purchase of the building also provided a cost effective, feasible option for it to further consider the library and art gallery project.

“The Port of Sale is one of the jewels of Wellington, and based on feedback received through the library and art gallery feasibility studies, its ongoing and appropriate development as a community, cultural and tourism hub is something council is keen to pursue.

“Council’s vision, in line with the community vision, Wellington 2030, and our Arts and Culture Strategy, is to develop Foster St and the Port of Sale as a vibrant cultural precinct for our community’s enjoyment.”

Cr Rossetti said locating a new library and art gallery close to Wellington Entertainment Centre made sense, and provided a cultural precinct.

“Redevelopment of the Port of Sale Civic Centre would enable council to provide some of the best community facilities in regional Victoria and deliver them at a substantially cheaper price than developing a new greenfield site,” he said.

“What we now need to do is discuss with our community whether our current civic centre will make an ideal new library, improved Gippsland Art Gallery and broad use community space.

“We want to ensure that we haven’t missed anything when considering the alternatives.”

Cr Rossetti said council had prepared a concept design of what a new library and Gippsland Art Gallery could look like at the Port of Sale Civic Centre.

“In the next few weeks we’ll present this concept to our community and invite feedback,” he said.

Council will present this vision for the library and art gallery as well as that of the new administration offices and customer service centre to the community in late February.

“It really is a time of exciting opportunity for everyone and we look forward to presenting council’s vision in coming weeks,” Cr Rossetti said.