IMPROVEMENTS to Camperdown’s main street will begin this month, but not to the extent that Corangamite Shire Council had first hoped.
The $550,000 project includes upgrades to footpaths around the historic courthouse and post office and improved pedestrian refuges along Manifold Street and Little Manifold Street.
Exposed aggregate concrete, bluestone feature paving in high-use areas, better access points, new seats and bins and improved drainage and kerbs will be installed along both sides of the avenue.
But other elements of the original design have had to be put on hold after tenders for the work came in $310,000 over budget.
Work on upgrading the town square, creating additional pedestrian out-stands and installing a central median strip between the clock tower and courthouse forecourt have been listed as a future stage-two project and improvements around the war memorial have been deferred to a stage-three budget allocation.
Council awarded the contract for the stage one work to Colac-based R. Slater and Sons, the same firm that completed other projects in the shire including both stages of the Terang streetscape.
Works and services director Alex Green said the initial design had been costed by a quantity surveyor and council, but only two tenders had been lodged and both were above the estimate.
He said tenders often reflected the amount of work in the sector and the economic conditions at the time. The shire had a similar experience with the Terang project, which was also split into stages following unfavourable tenders.
Mr Green said one option was to re-advertise the Camperdown work, but that process may not have attracted any more interest.
He said the contractors were “the best I’ve worked with” due to their consultation with the community and commitment to minimising disruption. During work in Terang, their employees would even stop to help elderly people cross the street safely, he said.
Central ward councillor Ruth Gstrein said the revised project would still deliver an excellent result for Camperdown and all parts of Manifold Street would see improvements in the first stage.
“Although it is disappointing that parts of the initial streetscape project had to be omitted from the contract, we will discuss this as a council and look to have them funded in the future,” Cr Gstrein said.
The successful tenderer will be meeting with council officers next week to determine a works schedule. It is expected that work will start later this month and be completed in May.
Meetings are also planned with affected businesses, but the council expects access to shops will be maintained throughout the project.