Locals could have designed pool

THE COUNCIL has awarded 11 of 12 contracts currently being worked on to local companies, deputy mayor Julie Arthur says in defence of the furore over the Maryborough Aquatic Centre design contract going to Brisbane.

“I understand people are disappointed because a lot of work goes into these tenders but it’s a competitive world we live in and we have to get the best value we can.”

Ms Arthur said the council’s tender document was open and honest in what it required from bidders.

“We did communicate how we would assess the tenders.”

The council was looking for specific areas of expertise including experience, innovation and price – although price was at the lower end of the scale, she said.

But councillor Gerard O’Connell, who voted against the aquatic centre design contract going to a Brisbane firm, said yesterday he was “really annoyed”.

“I’m not convinced that any one of the local tenderers couldn’t have done this work efficiently while using local suppliers and supplies and eventually the redevelopment of the centre will be a $12 million spend by council.

“In regional economic downturns local governments can give a leg up to local business and on this occasion we didn’t.”

Hervey Bay architect Gavin Patterson wrote a blistering letter to the council’s CEO, Andrew Brien, and sent copies to all councillors and the Chronicle.

“As a long-standing local consultant, and tenderer for the project, I write to express my distress about this decision,” he said.

“The successful tenderer tendered fees in the sum of $427,900 – more than $50,000 higher than the tender of $371,543 from my firm.

“My team of sub-consultants was made up of local professional firms in general, with the exception of the specialist pool design engineers who were Brisbane based. As well as the cost savings in professional fees, in my tender, I had offered a reduction in the construction budget from $6.5 million to $5.12 million.

“The decision to award the design contract to this Brisbane firm is contrary to council’s well publicised Local Buy policy, and I question the method in which this determination has been made.”

In letters to the unsuccessful tenderers, the council’s major projects officer, Tracey Genrich, wrote: “Guymer Bailey were assessed as having the highest rated outcomes particularly in the area of experience in designing community aquatic centres specifically for local governments”.

“As you can imagine, with 19 tenders being received, with a price range of between $327,720 and $790,750 a rigorous tender assessment process was undertaken, taking into consideration all the selection criteria.”

The project

The Fraser Coast Regional Council’s tender document specified a design that included:

  • Repairs to the existing 25m heated pool to rectify water circulation issues;
  • 50m 8-lane pool;
  • Demolition and replacement of existing entry building, amenities, central control area and office accommodation;
  • Learn to swim/hydrotherapy pool;
  • Water play area; and
  • Landscaping, barbecues and passive recreation areas.

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