News

Council office costs head North

The Northumberland Hotel project is now an election issue
The Northumberland Hotel project is now an election issue Renee Pilcher

BIG money concerns emerged yesterday over the claimed failure of Gympie Regional Council's multi-million-dollar Northumberland Hotel investment.

Mayor Ron Dyne denied claims by election rival Mick Venardos that he had mishandled public money in trying to atone for the inadequacies of the Northumberland project.

Mr Venardos said the hotel building had failed to achieve its staff accommodation objectives, prompting even more serious issues with the unauthorised spending of $60,000-plus a year on alternative accommodation.

Cr Dyne yesterday denied there was anything wrong with his decision to renew the Old Post Office building lease, despite admitting that the major spending commitment had never been adopted at a council meeting.

The North's purchase was originally intended to provide accommodation for staff from both the town planning and engineering design departments.

While it has enabled planning staff to move out of their previous headquarters, in an enclosed under-building car park condemned by workplace health and safety inspectors, further workplace health and safety advice meant that the new building was also inadequate, if it also had to house engineering design employees (as originally planned).

Mr Venardos yesterday claimed that no feasibility study or business plan had been prepared for the North project.

"I and many people ask why this council would complete a contract to buy a building for $1.45 million, spend $1.91 million on a rebuild and external works without first determining the suitability of that building for council office use?"

He said the building could not house the engineering design department and those staff would now have to continue to work from the Old Post Office.

Cr Dyne said councillors were aware of his decision to renew the Old Post Office lease, but admitted it had not had the backing of a council vote.

But The Gympie Times is aware of some councillors who claim to have been unaware of the decision.

"Not every lease has to come to the councillors' attention," Cr Dyne said.

However, Mr Venardos said any spending on that scale required a council resolution.

Gympie Times

Topics:  budget, costs, council, investment, northumberland hotel



4 hot topics at tomorrow's Gympie council meeting

Councillor James Cochrane will move a motion tomorrow to allow councillors to once again raise issues in general business.

Tomorrow's council meeting will be a good one

'Weedies' authorised to enter property

WEED PATROL: Fireweed, one of the nasties targeted in biosecurity patrols coming up soon in Queensland.

Council weed inspectors will have access rights to your property

USC students win international law competition

LEGAL WIN: University of the Sunshine Coast law students David Knobel (left) and Gympie's Callum Lee with the trophy for International Negotiation Champions.

Ficticious legal battle delivers upset for local trainee lawyers

Local Partners

10,000 people flock to Tin Can Bay for Seafood Festival

A huge crowd turned out to enjoy the Tin Can Bay Seafood Festival on Saturday and mingle with the colourful mascots.

10,000 people converge on Tin Can Bay for the Seafood Festival

Testament's new album is a concept album

ROME, ITALY- JULY 27, 2016: Testament photographed at The Roman Collisseium in Rome, Italy on July 27,2016. Gene Ambo

Testament to release new album

'Baby' recreates famous Nirvana cover shot 25 years later

The baby from Nevermind album has recreated the iconic cover shot.

PREVIEW: Luke Cage origin story is a strong addition to MCU

Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage.

MIKE Colter stars as latest Marvel superhero to get his own series.

Kate goes down fighting in heated Survivor elimination

Australian Survivor contestant Kate Campbell.

YOGA teacher's 'good guys' alliance fails to get off the ground.

Emily Blunt's (almost) singing career

Emily Blunt nearly became the British Britney Spears.

$40million hotel, shops development project for Mackay

Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.

$40m development to take Mackay to 'the next level'

Huge Gunalda service station set to open by December

NEW STATION: The Gunalda Service Centre, owned by United Petroleum, will include a 350-seat eating area and a truckers lounge.

The massive servo is the biggest United development in Queensland.

Highway upgrade drives momentum in affordable market

Accessibility and affordability are keeping interest high

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

First stages of $25 million housing development underway

New development on Madsen Rd - The Springs.

The blocks of land are much bigger than usual