A long-awaited Ballarat public car park did not go through a tender process, despite costing more than the usual limit for works which must be put to tender.
The Creswick Road paid car park has suffered from major weather delays and soil problems across its construction, and is now more than a year behind on its original September 2018 completion date.
The municipality revealed the car park works did not go through a tender process in City of Ballarat's annual report, released this month.
The Courier understands the 300-space car park is set to open imminently, with line-marking having taken place at the site. As of Wednesday, fencing was still placed around the front of the 122 Creswick Road site.
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A media response posted on the City of Ballarat website said the initial cost of the project was $180,000, which they stated was "under the tendering threshold" set out in their procurement policy of $200,000 at the time it was proposed.
But a change of plans mean the project's costs increased above the threshold required to tender.
"The Creswick Road car park project was originally proposed to be a crushed rock car park, the scope of which required quotes only," the media response stated.
THE ONGOING SAGA OF THE CRESWICK ROAD CARPARK
"A change in project scope occurred during the initial works, which included a sealed pavement and lighting for the car park.
"Quotes were sought from contractors for works to be carried out."
The media response did not detail why a decision was made to change the scope of works. City of Ballarat would also not reveal the total cost to construct the car park.
Council initially said they would spend $600,000 to secure a three-year lease on the former petrol station site as well as complete works.
The works were funded as part of a state government contribution of $2 million to council, in order to create 1,000 new car spaces in Ballarat CBD.
The funding was provided on the inception of GovHub construction to rectify the loss of car parks and imminent influx of public servants to the area.
In response to The Courier's questions on Wednesday, City of Ballarat stated "no extra costs were incurred due to project delays".
But a previous statement from the municipality's infrastructure and environment director Terry Demeo in July this year acknowledged there was some additional cost, but weather delays were "not impacting significantly on the City of Ballarat's" project expenses.
Council has a three year lease on the land, meaning its future beyond 2021 as a carpark is not assured.
Construction of GovHub is expected to be complete in 2021, with staff scheduled to take up positions gradually.
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