Major projects underway

David Braithwaite

Wellington Shire Council approved 2020-21 budget

CAPITAL works projects across Wellington Shire are continuing despite the coronavirus pandemic.

To the end of May, 94 of Wellington Shire Council’s capital works projects were at practical completion.

Ten projects were in the pre-planning phase, 31 more projects were underway, while five have had contracts awarded.

Works on the Cameron Sporting Complex stadium in Maffra are progressing on schedule.

Stage one is expected to be complete by the end of July.

Works on the meeting room and court two have begun, while planning has begun for the design of signs.

The Stratford tennis courts project has been completed.

Fencing and lights for stage two works at the Sale Tennis Club are in progress.

Council is working through a plan for testing the completed courts with Sport and Recreation Victoria, Tennis Victoria and the club. No action has been planned for the next stage of the courts, until the assessment scope has been agreed and the assessment returned for consideration.

Construction of the new Stratford Recreation Reserve changerooms is scheduled to begin in August, but works could be brought forward if the football and netball season is cancelled.

A project reference group has been established and an updated concept plan developed for the new changerooms at Stephenson Park, Sale.

The users reference group is currently providing feedback on the updated design.

Council will allocate $2.578 million for the projects in its next two budgets.

Concept designs have been developed for works at Sale Oval, with consultation being undertaken with user groups.

Approval of five of six design elements has been provided by the groups.

Concept design work has begun for the redevelopment of Aqua Energy, Sale, with architects hosting forums with key user groups and staff.

Draft concept floor plans have been developed and presented to council’s technical working group for review.

Consultation between Sport and Recreation Victoria and council will begin in July.

The scope of the project has been affected by the discovery of asbestos, and more structural investigation is being undertaken as part of design preparation.

The reconstruction of Rathjens Rd, Flynn, was completed in May, while contractors have begun working on the second stage of the Tarra Trail from Alberton to Port Albert.

Council recorded a $26.8 million surplus to the end of May, against a full year forecast surplus of $13.5 million.

The increase of $13.3 million is a combination of an operating result of $15.7 million and the effect of the capital income, yet to be received through to June.

The full year forecast surplus of $13.55 million is $4.2 million higher than the adopted budget.

The forecast full year operating surplus of $2.1 million is higher than the expected surplus of $584,000.

The forecast capital result is $2.1 million higher, mainly because of additional 2019-20 Roads to Recovery funding of $2.4 million and $900,000 for the recognition of non-monetary contributions.

Government grants of $7.2 million were received in 2018-19, but have been offset by council receiving $7.2 million of its 2020-21 grants allocation in May.

Council received new operating grant funding of $4.2 million, relating mainly to $3.8 million for farming enterprises rate relief and $300,000 for drought and bushfire recovery programs.

Operating and other expenses have increased to reflect the rate relief payments, but is offset by lower contractor payments associated with delays in the beginning of the Stratford Recreation Reserve changeroom works and Gippsland Shared Services program.