Tarpeena timber product in sights for council office

Preliminary design work including the possible use of a new laminated timber product from Tarpeena is continuing on the proposed $5.5m office in Millicent for Wattle Range Council.

Timberlink is currently undertaking a $60m upgrade of its Tarpeena plant and one of its new lines may be suitable for council’s new administrative centre. Council chief executive Ben Gower said council had a “timber first” policy and any new product coming out of Tarpeena would have to be suitable and meet the construction timelines.

Mr Gower said the suggested use of Tarpeena product as well as local limestone had arisen in talks to date. Council has engaged Mount Gambier firm Chapman Herbert Architects to continue with the design work and workshops are being held to confirm the initial design criteria.

The firm’s principal Stephen Herbert recently addressed a two-hour, closed-door workshop attended by Mr Gower, other senior staff, Mayor Des Noll and all 11 ward representatives. Mr Gower said it was a brain-storming exercise with councillors submitting their ideas about the public spaces.

“It was focussed on design,” Mr Gower said. “We want to get the design elements right and eliminate cost variations. “There is a budget of $5.5m and hopefully we will come in under that.”

He said workshops were also being held with staff to get their input into the functionality of the new office. According to Mr Gower, a Wattle Range Council informal delegation could inspect the new structures at the Mount Gambier Uni SA campus and the Mount Gambier Airport.

“We will probably have two vehicles going on a day trip to Nhill to see the new council office,” he said. “We can learn from that building process. “Environmental factors will be key in the design of the new Millicent office to reduce heating and cooling costs.

“The building can be orientated to take advantage of prevailing winds.” The preferred office site is the area on North Terrace which formerly housed netball and tennis courts.

Mr Gower said there had been no discussion about other possible locations at the planning workshop attended by Mr Herbert. As many as eight other locations had been touted by councillors at a February open workshop.

A staff report on other planning actions to date was tabled at the February monthly council meeting. The report stated the terms of reference for the project control group are being developed.

“The project team is ensuring the design is fit-for-purpose by calling for expressions of interest to join a small consultative committee to help channel the thoughts and ideas of many and work with both [council] executives and the consultants over the next few months,” the report said.

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