Council committee approves extra spending on new 50-metre pool as contract costs rise again

THE City of Ballarat has forked out $170,000 more than it had originally budgeted for the construction of the 50-metre indoor pool at the Ballarat Aquatic and Lifestyle Centre. 

Cr Josh Morris and Nicholson's director Dean Stevens at the Ballarat Aquatic and Lifestyle Centre in June.

Cr Josh Morris and Nicholson's director Dean Stevens at the Ballarat Aquatic and Lifestyle Centre in June.

To date there have been five variations to the $8.9-million contract drawn up for the project with Nicholson Construction.

Councillors will consider an item at Wednesday night’s council meeting agenda that revealed the most recent variation to the contract was approved by the council’s Contracts Approval Special Committee on August 6.

Committee members approved an additional funding of more than $62,000 at a special meeting held about the council contracts for major projects. 

According to the report, the increase was deemed necessary to pay for further works at the centre including moving a sewer line, relocating a recycled water line and construction of additional stormwater piping from the existing building.

In March, the council also approved an $82,329 increase to the total cost of the project, after councillors voted to cover the cost of altering the depth of the pool to a constant 1.85 metres.

The council has also previously approved $26,389 of additional funding to pay for the cost of moving telephone and water services at the centre. 

City of Ballarat executive of major projects delivery and communications Jeff Pulford said the approved budget for the centre had allowed for contract variations during the course of the

project.

“The contract provides for a set design at the time of tender,” Mr Pulford said. “As the project proceeds further, design changes and details are refined.

“The approved budget for the project provides for contract variations during the course of the project and this is a standard arrangement for major construction

projects.” 

He said the funding for the contract variations was taken from the $17-million Ballarat Aquatic Upgrade Project budget which was approved by the council last year.

Mr Pulford said to date, all increases to the contract had been within the council’s “expected parameters”.

The Ballarat Aquatic Upgrade Project budget was created by the council to fund a series of upgrades including the refurbishment of the Eureka Pool and recently completed Midlands water play park. 

melissa.cunningham@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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