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A combination of exposure to the weather – since the January 2 storm that destroyed many of the Maclean showground’s buildings – and vandalism has added at least an additional $30,000 to the cost of repairing the Jim Thompson Pavilion (pictured). File image: Lynne Mowbray.

Maclean showground questions answered

Geoff Helisma |

Publically undisclosed insurance claim-related issues have slowed repairs to various buildings damaged by a storm at the Maclean showground on January 2, 2018.

At the April Clarence Valley Council (CVC) meeting, works and civil director Troy Anderson told councillors – when explaining why approval for a $180,000 contract was being sought without going to tender (as prescribed by the Local Government Act) – that “there has been delay in obtaining insurance approval and, in the first instance when the quotes were sought, the works were under the value of tender”.

“But since then, there has been additional works required due to the time lapse and weather damage to the building [Jim Thompson Pavilion] and also some vandalism, which has resulted in variations to the quote being provided,” he said.

The Local Government Act sets an upper limit of $150,000 for awarding contracts without going to tender.
“The requirement to enter into a contract is not required where, because of extenuating circumstances, remoteness of locality or the unavailability of competitive or reliable tenderers, a council decides by resolution (which states the reasons for the decision) that a satisfactory result would not be achieved by inviting tenders,” the report to council cited as a reason to exceed the limit.

Councillors unanimously voted to award a $180,000 (ex GST) contract to Andrew Tom Builder, for the repair of Jim Thompson Pavilion, and delegated authority to the general manager to approve variations of up to 15 per cent above the contracted sum.

Councillors also rejected the council officer’s recommendation to demolish and not rebuild the toilets adjacent to the oval; instead deciding to “use any insurance income associated with the lower toilet block building for the provision of a new pre-fabricated facility and noting that any unused insurance funds from the toilet block claim will no longer be available for other replacement works on the Maclean Showground”.

Reflecting on concerns held by the Greater Maclean Community Action Group, the Independent emailed a series of questions to CVC, which were answered by Mr Anderson in an email.

Independent: With regard to this statement in the business paper – “There has been significant delay in obtaining approval of insurance funding, which resulted in additional works being incurred ie flooring [at Jim Thompson Pavilion].” – Why weren’t the floor boards protected from the elements with either roof tarpaulins or plastic sheeting over the floorboards?
Troy Anderson: They were. Council staff applied protective floor coverings three times but each time they were damaged by vandals. The roof structure was inappropriate for continued install of tarpaulins as it was considered unsafe for staff to be accessing.

I: In regard to the toilets decision: what exactly is a ‘pre-fabricated facility’? (please send me the brochure that was given to councillors)
TA: Pre-fabricated means the components are manufactured off site. The brochure provided to councillors was indicative only. A design has not been decided, so it would be inappropriate to provide a brochure as that could be misleading.

I: And, if any leftover funds from the insurance money for the toilet are “no longer … available for other replacement works on the Maclean Showground”; what happens to that money?
TA: There will be no leftover funds. We will submit invoices for the facility and the insurance company will pay those. It won’t pay anything additional.

I: Given that the report to council confirms that the Jim Thompson Pavilion will be “repaired” by Andrew Tom for the sum of $180,495, what is the insured and redeemable amount attached to the toilet block?
TA: Council has the site insured as a whole. We have asset values provided for each facility but this is not the insured value. It’s complex but we work with the insurer to determine cover and rebuild costs etc.

Mr Anderson said any quotes received by CVC were “commercial in confidence” and said the “confidential” engineer’s report on the toilets is “not council’s to release”.
“The report will be paid for and owned by the insurer,” he said.

Meanwhile, CVC is still “awaiting the advice of the insurer’s assessment and subsequent engineering assessment” for the “Main Pavilion, Fine Arts Building and Change Rooms”, the report to council stated.