Office site misses mark for councillor

A second elected member of Wattle Range has expressed misgivings over aspects of the preferred North Terrace site for Millicent’s proposed $5.5m office complex for Wattle Range Council.

The former netball/tennis courts were chosen almost a year ago in a 6/5 vote.

Last month council agreed to spend $200,000 on detailed plans and costings with Councillor Dale Price stating his final vote was nonetheless reliant on the exact siting of the office and car park in that area.

The location of the proposed office will again be canvassed at tonight’s monthly council meeting in Millicent as Cr Dean Burrow has submitted a notion of motion.

If his two-part motion is successful, council will request architect Stephen Herbert to provide an indicative cost to undertake a design for the proposed office complex in the vicinity of the Millicent RSL building, the drain and the 1930s-era abandoned swimming pool.

Furthermore, council will ascertain whether Mr Herbert would still like the opportunity to do so, and if he currently has the resources to do the work.

In his published rationale, Cr Burrow attributes certain remarks to Mr Herbert, council chief executive Ben Gower and deputy mayor Cr Moira Neagle.

“Council having made the decision the current office facilities are inadequate, then there is an obvious need to address the issue as soon as practically possible,” Cr Burrow said.

“I fully support the development of a high-quality office so the staff can work efficiently in a comfortable environment.

“However, I still consider the decision on the location was rushed.

“Using Mr Gower’s often repeated analogy of the funnel, the concept of building over the drain in the vicinity of the RSL building was never fed into the funnel.

“Then recently I read the letter from two ratepayers outlining their and the community opposition to the proposal.

“Then closer to home, the Penola Council spent $40,000 on constructing the Hotel Paddock Road with the intention of making it the first stage of the Penola Bypass.

“None of the $40,000 Hotel Road was used for the bypass.

“My conclusion is that a majority decision of a council is not always the right one.”

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