LOOMING debt clouds could take the shine off Warrnambool’s new international-standard BMX race track after a cost blow-out expected to hit more than $62,000.
Almost three months after the Jetty Flat complex was officially opened, city councillors have been told of budget over-runs in almost every component for the project for which council was banker and part of the control group.
The council this week decided to demand the club pay $47,000 by the end of March to help meet the shortfall, but the club maintains it provided more than $300,000 through voluntary work and in-kind contributions and should not be forced to pay more.
“They want us to pay for many bills they’ve clocked up,” club president Luke Pretlove told The Standard.
“We could have done it cheaper if it wasn’t for council demanding this and that.
“How can you make a club pay when there was no agreement it would have to pay for over-runs?”
A report to this week’s council meeting said the club was yet to pay an agreed $22,000 cash contribution or pass on $25,000 donated by philanthropic trusts.
However, Mr Pretlove said that money had already gone into the club’s contribution.
Council’s community development director Vicky Mason conceded she wasn’t happy with the blow-out, especially since council was the banker. “It appears it was an oversight by the project control group,” she said.
“A number of over-runs were due to changes in the project scope and requests by the club.”
Cr Jacinta Ermacora described the track as a rare “problem child” considering the many projects worth millions of dollars overseen by the council.
Most of the blow-out was for track development which had been estimated at $66,090 and ended up at $120,000, mostly due to costs for carting soil from the old Queens Road track, which had been overlooked in early estimates.
There was a $20,000 bill for soil tests and transporting contaminated soil to Melbourne for disposal.
Ms Mason said she understood this would be paid by the council.
Electrical work was $17,400 over budget, the starting gate cost $9000 more and the starting hill $6100 more. Technical support services went $4300 over budget.
The council contributed $140,000 and the state government $60,000. Ms Mason said further government funding was unlikely.
Cr Brian Kelson said he hoped the council would show compassion to the club which had put so much work into building a showpiece for Warrnambool.