Wulanda launch in sight

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Lechelle Earl, owner/editor

Wulanda launch in sight

An opening date and final cost of Mount Gambier’s Wulanda Recreation and Convention Centre was announced yesterday by Mount Gambier City Council.

The two-storey structure was initially scheduled to open in autumn, however the Margaret Street site has been beset with construction delays.

Council chief executive Sarah Philpott called a media conference yesterday afternoon to announce the anticipated opening date and project costs.

Ms Philpott advised the centre was set to open on or around December 16 this year.

While obtaining a firm build spend has proved difficult in the past, the last public figure sat at $57.3m, with the project receiving $25m in federal and state government funding.

“The budget throughout the course of the build for Wulanda is $66.8m,” Ms Philpott said.

“This includes not only construction but also project management, cost estimators, quantity surveyors and planning and statutory charges as well as a contingency.”

Ms Philpott said the original construction budget was $61.6m, which comprised of a contract price of $57.3m and a contingency allocation of $4.3m, or 7.5%.

She said the final construction cost for Wulanda was anticipated to be $62.5m and noted council still had an additional modest contingency for any final or unanticipated items.

“Even allowing the remaining contingency to be taken up, the overall construction will have increased the original construction budget by around 2.13%,” Ms Philpott said.

Ms Philpott said the COVID pandemic created an unprecedented global demand for materials, soaring transport costs and labour shortages, which contributed to project delays.

“Locally, we faced border closures, lockdowns and infrastructure stimulus packages which drove up demand and, combined, have placed the construction sector under enormous strain,” she said.

“Despite this, the success of this project will be measured by the benefit this community and region will obtain from the facilities themselves.

“Council’s solid financial position and funding partner support of $15m federal funding, $10m state funding and $350,000 from Grant District Council have ensured the project can be successfully funded and delivered.

“Around 60% of this project has been spent either locally in our region or in South Australia.”

When opened in December, the community will be able to access the revamped outdoor 50 metre pool and new indoor 25 metre pool, program pool, learn to swim pool and splash pad.

People will be able to use the eastern bank of timber courts, café, heath centre and function and community rooms.

In February, the western bank of courts will be open to the public, which will offer further opportunities to host events, concerts, conventions and sporting competitions.

There will be retractable seating in both banks of courts progressively installed next year, which will open up seating for thousands of spectators.

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