Pandemic Response Investment Program update 16 December

Major projects are now underway as part of Toowoomba Regional Council’s (TRC) Pandemic Response Investment.

With the old amenities block at Nell E Robinson now cleared, Finance and Business Strategy Committee Chair Councillor Geoff McDonald said construction was underway on replacing the block with a modernised facility.

“We were on site last week to see the progress to date with representatives from the Toowoomba Netball Association and there’s certainly some excitement around this project,” he said.

“As a direct result of this project a new apprentice has been employed by the successful local tenderer, Taddio Construction.

“This was one of the projects which was originally scheduled for completion at a future date but with our $50 million package we’ve been able to fast track the work with the building scheduled to be finished this financial year.

“Another project which will be fast tracked is the Highfields Library. Tenders for the project have now closed and are under assessment with the successful applicant to be announced early next year. Following this, construction will begin with the library expected to be open by the end of 2021.”

As of the end of November around $4.8 million has been spent as part of this package, with another $4.5 million in commitments which equates to almost 20 per cent of the overall spend.

“The great news is that about 90 per cent of all spend so far has been with local suppliers which is the number one goal of the Pandemic Response Investment,” Cr McDonald said.

“The other piece of great news is how well our local contractors are recovering during the pandemic.

“When this package was introduced we wanted to make sure there was work available to keep the industry stimulated and locals in jobs however the industry is doing better than we expected which is a terrific result for our community.

“Rather than compete with the projects currently on the books of local contractors, we’re prepared to shift our timelines to ensure there is continued investment within the Toowoomba Region.”

During the December Ordinary Meeting of Council, Council also made a decision to reallocate money within the Pandemic Response Investment as a result of Council missing out on external funding for the Bridge Street Quarry Rehabilitation Project.

Despite missing out on funding, Finance and Business Strategy Committee portfolio lead and Chair of the Bridge Street Quarry Advisory Group, Cr Kerry Shine said Council made a unanimous decision to continue seeking funding to support the project.

“It’s disappointing that we didn’t receive any funding when the State Government recently released its budget but rather than removing money from the project we made a decision to stay strong and commit to our $50 million package,” Cr Shine said.

“As a result, we will repurpose $450,000 towards the Barlow Road culvert replacement, put an extra $2.05 million to our region-wide asphalt program and $400,000 in refurbishments to the Empire Theatre.

“We also want to make sure the Bridge Street Quarry Rehabilitation Project doesn’t fall off our radar so will spend $400,000 on the rehabilitation plan for the project and continue to advocate to all levels of government for additional funding.”

For a full list of the projects listed in the $50 million Pandemic Response Investment program visit contact Council on 131 872.

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