The Wintergarden Community Hub will see an iconic heritage building transformed into a multi-use space for community groups across the Bundaberg Region to use and enjoy.
Bundaberg Regional Council CEO Steve Johnston shared some facts about the Wintergarden works in response to recent media and social media commentary on the project.
“There has been much discussion and many reports of ‘rumours’ relating to the use of a generator onsite,” Mr Johnston said.
“I can confirm that a high voltage power bypass, including on site generation, is in place and the cost to the project is estimated to be $130,000.
“That decision was made as a necessity to meet Workplace Health and Safety standards in relation to the proximity of powerlines to the scaffolding.
“Like most construction projects, you can’t always predict every single cost that will be incurred to carry out the works but certainly Council places the utmost priority on the safety of its staff, contractors and the community in anything that we do.
“This was not an optional project cost but was in fact required under the Electrical Safety Regulation 2013.”
He also addressed the use of grant funding within the Wintergarden Community Hub budget with the project receiving Australian Government support under the Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants Program funding.
“Council’s vision for this project was to put the iconic Wintergarden building to good use and open the facility up for the community to take advantage of its central location, while still celebrating its history.
“The funding body – in this case the Australian Government – sets the funding guidelines and necessary criteria and undertakes the assessment and approval.
“Often with funding initiatives like this one the goal is to assist impacted communities by stimulating the local economy.
“You will see this approach evidenced throughout the list of successful funding applications for this program and other, similar disaster resilience funding programs.
“Officers undertook the funding application process for the Wintergarden Community Hub with transparency and due diligence, keeping myself and Councillors informed.”
Mr Johnston said the Bundaberg Region had two other successful applications under the same grant funding.
“Council also worked with nbn to secure funding for 10 nbn Hybrid Power Cubes which were installed throughout the region to increase the resilience of the telecommunications network during natural disasters.
“Burnett Mary Regional Group also successfully applied for more than $3 million in funding under this program for bushfire remediation, the locations of which included the Woodgate area, and which Council understands also saw the provision of a fire truck to Camp Gregory which miraculously survived the fire.”
He said, once complete, the new community hub would add to the range of Council facilities available for residents across the region to utilise.
Community groups will occupy the compact tenancy areas which will have lease agreements in place, and the larger spaces will offer flexible arrangements for those groups requiring occasional use.
The community can look forward to learning more about the community hub facilities closer to the opening date.