Youth centre upgrade work further delays re-opening


The Cobar Youth & Fitness Centre is expected to be closed much longer than was
originally expected as the plans for the upgrade work “came in well over budget”.

The Cobar Youth & Fitness Centre (Youthie) will continue to remain closed with the start of the proposed upgrade work being further postponed.

The matter was discussed at last week’s Ordinary Council Meeting with Cr Julie Payne asking if the centre could re-open in the interim until the proposed construction work gets underway.

The centre has been shut since last March when, like a number of other “non-essential” services, it was closed as part of the Federal Government’s efforts to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the shut down, with the impending upgrade work to take place in the later half of last year, the building was cleared out in readiness for the proposed upgrade works.

Council had received grant funding from the NSW Government’s Stronger Country Communities program for an extensive upgrade with the proposed plans for the re-development presented to the public in November 2019.

The changes and proposed upgrade were initially met with lukewarm enthusiasm by centre users as it was revealed that the upper level of the centre would no longer be accessible to the public (due to not having disability access).

Council’s general manager Peter Vlatko told the meeting that with only a relatively small budget of a $1.2 million grant to work with, the money would be best spent only on the areas that would give the public the “best bang for their buck”.

Tenders for the proposed upgrade work closed in November 2020 and “came in well over budget” according to the general manager’s report to last week’s meeting.

“Value engineering and best options to move forward are being explored.

“An extension of the project will need to be sought,” Mr Vlatko said in his report.

He said the proposed Stage 2 works will now be combined with Stage 1 and be delivered as one package of works.

During the discussion at last week’s meeting, Mr Vlatko told councillors it would not be worth re-opening the centre for a “short term” before the work commences.

“It would be a bit difficult to open it and then close it again,” he said.

“It wouldn’t be worth it and, given its state at the moment, we’d probably have to spend a lot of money cleaning it.

“So, we only want to do it once – when it’s finished,” Mr Vlatko said.

He said council will go back to talk to the community to give them an update of where the project is up to and also advise what sort of time frame it will take to complete the proposed upgrade work