A planning panel will next month decide one of the largest projects on council books.
On June 17 the Joint Regional Planning Panel will deliberate on a plan to upgrade the Goulburn Aquatic Centre, including its $29.5 million first stage.
The news comes as the council tries to trim the cost of the $18.5 million performing arts centre. Now it is taking precautions against a similar cost increase for the aquatic centre.
Consultants dwp Australia Pty Ltd are finalising design for the aquatic centre's redevelopment. Stage one includes a new eight-lane indoor pool, refurbishment of the existing indoor facility, warm water and leisure pools, new change rooms and a cafe, among other features.
The second stage encompasses outdoor pool, exercise and fitness area upgrades but funding is yet to be secured. The overall project is worth $49m.
The council has secured $10m from the State Government for stage one. General manager Warwick Bennett said it didn't carry timeframes.
The organisation is also re-applying for a $10m federal grant it missed out on last year. A total $15m will be raised in loans at low-interest and $4.5m will come from land sales and section 94A contributions.
Councillors at their most recent meeting decided to start the procurement process for the upgrade. Mayor Bob Kirk did not believe this was premature.
"It's a logical step and I don't see any reason why it won't proceed," he said.
"It takes time to get documents together and you have to move ahead with things rather than sit on your hands."
General manager Warwick Bennett said the tender would not proceed until after the JRPP's determination.
"(The decision) will allow us to proceed with final detailed design plans and tender documents, so that this process can run parallel to the JRPP's. Otherwise we may risk further delays to the project," he said.
"It is our expectation that the JRPP's decision will be released in July, and that will give us adequate time to complete the final detailed plans. We plan to commence the tender process in August, however if the JRPP decision takes longer, we will defer this tender process so that we are not being presumptuous."
In his report, operations director Matt O'Rourke acknowledged recent price differentials between request for tender submissions and construction estimates. Quantity surveyors' estimates were also less than construction costs on projects such as the Rocky Hill museum and the Performing Arts Centre.
The variations have been attributed to the changing construction market over a short period.
In order to guard against this happening again, Mr O'Rourke recommended a staged expression of interest process for the aquatic centre after tenders were received. Shortlisted companies would included an offer based on the design plans and a value engineering step to identify cost reduction opportunities.
"Depending on prices received, further negotiations with selected tenderers may be necessary to achieve an acceptable price," he said.
The council hopes to call expressions of interest for stage one in mid-July and award a construction contract in December.
Cr Kirk said while the council had several major projects on the boil they were all provided for in the budget and covered by internal funds, grants or loans.
"It demonstrates we can achieve these projects and still deliver services and standards that people expect and remain within the State's financial guidelines. It's a responsible budget and plan," he said.
The Mayor said all of the infrastructure projects were ones that the community wanted. Cr Margaret O'Neill also told Tuesday's meeting that the aquatic centre was "a number one priority."
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