Cobar Shire Council is working with the Rural Fire Service (RFS) but has a slow process ahead to resolve the issues relating to the organisation’s new shed in Cobar.
The matter was discussed last Thursday night’s council meeting when Cr Peter Yench called for an update and also for further legal action to be taken on the matter.
The construction of the new RFS shed in Railway Parade South was project managed by Cobar Shire Council on behalf of the RFS.
As previously reported (The Cobar Weekly, March 8 edition) council determined the building that was delivered by the contractor did not meet council’s standards due to poor workmanship and the use of low grade materials.
After council’s attempt to freeze any further payments to the contractor was overruled by a Supreme Court Order, council directed their general manager Peter Vlatko to investigate what further options could be taken to recoup costs and fix the building.
Mr Vlatko told the meeting that all councillors had been provided with an update on the matter via a confidential email on April 19.
“I thought there would have been an update since then,” Cr Yench said.
He said the matter had been going on “month after month” and called for tougher actions to be taken.
Mayor Lilliane Brady advised Cr Yench that any further action would be a council decision.
“You can’t make a decision, nor can I, it’s the decision of the 12 councillors,” Cr Brady told Cr Yench.
Mr Vlatko said until the matter is resolved legally, council cannot take possession as the contractor still owns the site.
“The decision on how we are going to fix it is with the RFS,” Mr Vlatko told the meeting.
He said council had written to the RFS asking them how they wanted to proceed to make the shed operational and to consider reimbursing council for their current legal expenses they have already outlaid in relation to the contractual costs.
Cr Yench questioned how much of ratepayers’ money had been spent already and what it was going to cost ratepayers to fix it.
“We haven’t spent a further cent yet on legal fees. It’s their money [the RFS], not ours, to fix it,” Mr Vlatko told the meeting.
He also told the meeting that to his knowledge, it was the RFS who did a check on the construction company prior to the contract being awarded.