Wilf Sprengel, Ocean Shores
The ink is hardly dry on the signatures of the incoming Byron councillors who promised in their pre-election waffle they would assure that the $3 million wage expenditure would be addressed and now I read that council has already called for further ideas from WBM Consultancy in regard to the restoration of the Bangalow Weir.
To my way of thinking this problem was resolved several weeks ago at the inaugural meeting of those concerned at the Bangalow Anglican Church hall in regard to the weir’s restoration. This very well-attended meeting was held after a so-called environmental engineer, who didn’t even attend, had informed the council that the cost of the restoration would be in excess of a million dollars – for which the consultant received a nice fee.
When a consultant puts out such a figure of $1 million plus (as reported in the local newspapers) the consultant either does not know what the cost is, has not clearly understood the problem he is trying to solve, has not done his preliminary design to cost and/or is not in a factual world about construction or structure restoration costs.
Another consultant attended the meeting, who is a Byron Shire ratepayer and who also redesigned the Helen Street Bridge after noticing that the design that council had paid for was unworkable. He saved council just under a million dollars on that project and didn’t even charge. At the meeting, he clearly demonstrated with plans and definite concepts how the Bangalow Weir could be restored to its former glory for just $50,000. The other $950,000 would have filled a lot of potholes and not another consultant’s pocket.
So what do we have now? Staff recommended and apparently council accepted further studies costing in the high $27,000s be made. This means so far the studies called for by the council have cost more than the repair bill as estimated by the consultant at the meeting.
No matter what problem is presented to the Byron Shire Council, it is always sent off by staff for further studies to consultants who can write absolute nonsense – because their studies are always well paid and the consultants have no liability for the ‘work’ they present.
Tweed Heads engineering staff do their own studies and most of their designs and appear employ a competent staff. Here we are told we have no staff to do that sort of work and so have to go to outside sources. The answer to the problem is too simplistic to state.