Wulanda silence deafening

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Wulanda silence deafening

While items relating to construction of Mount Gambier’s Wulanda Recreation Centre have been discussed in confidence, a local councillor has continued to urge City Council to provide regular updates that are open to the public.

Councillor Paul Jenner has again asked for more transparency of the progress of the construction, including financial information.

“The community deserves to know a lot more,” Cr Jenner said.

“I do realise that some council matters must be done in confidence, but they should be released to the public as soon as possible.

“People have been asking for council to be more transparent, accountable, honest and have integrity with telling the community what is going on.”

During his time as chairman of the City Hall and Cave Gardens Working Panel, Cr Jenner said he provided monthly reports to council on the project.

“At every monthly council meeting I gave a progress report and this is what I have been asking this council do with Wulanda,” he said.

“I believe council should provide additional information to the community on the build progress than has been done to date.

“While items have been required to be dealt with in confidence, updates on the build can be made open to the public.

“This is a very expensive build and will make money very tight for the coming six years of council budgets.

“The community deserves to know a lot more.

“When I first got on council I asked to please provide the community with regular updates.

“For whatever reason, it has not happened.

“So, the only formal way to make this happen is to put a resolution forward to council. I think it has to happen.

“It is really simple in my view.”

Cr Jenner assured his concerns were not with council’s current senior management team.

“I believe they are delivering the best on what they have to work from,” he said.

Cr Jenner praised the build which he toured with other elected members and council staff before attending monthly meeting.

“The building is magnificent and will be fantastic for the whole region and is built out of really good quality products,” he said.

Cr Jenner moved a motion the administration provides a report to council on the confidential items for the centre and when the information will be released to the public.

He also moved that City Infrastructure general manager Barbara Cernovskis provide a verbal monthly progress report.

Cr Jenner’s personal opinions were cause for further discussion.

Cr Sonya Mezinec raised concerns about the releasing of confidential documents, however it was clarified the purpose of the motion was to better communicate when the information in confidence will be able to be released to the public.

“My understanding is we are not holding stuff back because we do not want the community to know,” she said.

“There are particular rules about being in confidence while in a commercial contract.

“It’s not sensible and could be damaging to us and damaging to the bottom line.

“That’s where our responsibility lies to the community, in terms of managing this project to ensure we get the best possible outcome.”

Meanwhile chief executive Sarah Philpott clarified Cr Jenner’s motion.

“Essentially rather than waiting for the annual review of confidential items, Cr Jenner would like us to bring that forward,” she said.

“To look at the total suite of confidential items to release.”

Ms Philpott acknowledged the community is “itching” for the hub to open.

“We are finalising the timelines and we are very much aware the community is itching to get in there. That has formed part of those closed discussions,” Ms Philpott said.

“Where information is held in confidence is of legal and commercial sensitivity, which is why those items are held in confidence.”

Now the site is changing more rapidly, Ms Philpott said more regular updates would be available.

“Our communications team has been on site with the intention of providing much more regular updates because the site is changing now on a constant basis.

“That has not always been the case throughout the project,” she said.

“We have had people on site but not necessarily things that you can take photos of that demonstrates the progress of the build.

“But now it changes daily there is more opportunity to demonstrate the build and changes that is occurring.

As a result of the motion, Ms Cernovskis gave verbal update on the build, stating it is “getting closer and closer to finish”.

“The application of the final finishes is coming to life and you can actually see how the community is going to use it,” Ms Cernovskis said.

“It is more visually appealing and exciting to see what is happening.

“It’s all taking shape.

“It does look quite spectacular.”

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