The Maryborough pool.
The Maryborough pool. Valerie Horton

Rage over council's decision

LOCAL business people blasted the council yesterday over its decision to award the design contract for the $6.5 million Maryborough Aquatic Centre redevelopment to a Brisbane architecture firm.

“Some of our Urban Development Institute of Australia Fraser Coast members feel that it is not worth their time and effort to submit tenders to the council as they will not get a look in,” UDIA president Daniel Poacher said.

“This is a terrible position to be in for businesses in such tough economic times.”

One local architect said he was seriously considering never bidding for work from the council again.

Another tenderer, Jason Preston of Core Architecture, said his firm had the design capability to deliver the contract so was “pretty disappointed”.

The Hervey Bay Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to the council's CEO Andrew Brien, the mayor Mick Kruger and all councillors asking for an explanation about how they decided the Brisbane firm Guymer Bailey was more capable of delivering the design than were four local tenderers.

“We believe the awarding of this contract to a Brisbane-based firm with little public explanation does not help the confidence of local business,” Chamber president Bernard Whebell told the Chronicle.

“The chamber passionately believes that both local government and local business needs to support local firms by using their services wherever possible. If we don't support our own, no one else will.”

Guymer Bailey won the design contract over 18 tenderers, including four locally based or led companies.

One West Australia firm that partnered with a Maryborough architect to bid for the work did the Sydney Olympics Water Polo pool, Australia's first Wave pool when it redeveloped the Toowoomba Aquatic Centre, Sydney's Sutherland pool, which became the training venue for Ian Thorpe and elite competition pools in Singapore and Perth.

Upset tenderers emailed the council yesterday, including to councillor Sue Brooks who moved the motion on October 13 to give the contract to Guymer Bailey. In one emailed response Ms Brooks said she had had several experiences where the old Hervey Bay City Council offered work to firms and the works in her opinion were not up to standard.

She said that sometimes it was better to spend an extra amount of money at the beginning of a process “to ensure we don't end up with the need for expensive over runs or redesigns or remedial works”.

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