Rattler blowouts cast shadow on jetty and other big projects
THE Rattler and Norman Point might be more than 50km apart, but the train's shadow was clearly visible on the coast yesterday as Gympie councillors questioned the cost of the proposed Tin Can Bay jetty.
The historic train's multi-million dollar blow out formed the undercurrent of a debate over endorsing staff applications for federal help in funding the jetty and Gympie Transit Centre, with some left with cold feet over the timing and price tag.
The two projects are expected to cost more than $10 million.
If the applications are approved the council would need to foot half the bill - but the cost could be spread out until December 2021.
Cr Bob Fredman, who asked for the jetty and transit centre submissions to be split and voted on separately, said jetties were good but this one could very easily snag the council now or in the future.
"I have a real problem with the cost of this project," he said.
He said the project was at least a $4.3 million commitment, given the council would have to foot the bill for any and all overruns it might incur.
"I'm uncomfortable putting that on another council."
He was supported by Crs Glen Hartwig and Hilary Smerdon, who said the jetty would no doubt have benefits but was ultimately a case of too much too soon.
"We've just spent quite a considerable amount on a tourist project up the road," Cr Smerdon said.
Even Cr Dan Stewart was left wondering what the final cost would be.
"We seem to have occasions where our estimates are out."
Infrastructure Services Director Dimitri Scordalides and Planning Director Gina Vereker said they were fairly confident of the final tag.
Cr McDonald was not having any bar of the criticism though, calling the councillors' arguments "lame at most".
"It might go over, or it might not. But you (councillors) want to make that judgement call and dismiss what's been simmering away on the Cooloola Coast," he said.
He said the project was now more than 20 years in the works, and would open up the water ways to a new generation.
"Some of the antagonists say you can fish the tides, but this is very hard for the kids," Cr McDonald said.
Deputy Mayor Bob Leitch floated the use of the Economic Development Levy as a funding source for the council's half.
The jetty submission was approved by a slim margin, with Crs McDonald, Curran, Gear, Leitch and Dodt in favour.
The Transit Centre application was endorsed unanimously.
Council staff said the outcome of the applications would not be known until at least May next year.