Centre’s stamp of approval

GAWLER Council’s eagerly awaited Civic Centre project has been deemed “financially viable”, despite costing an extra $2.9 million, a recent review has found.

A Skilmar Systems-led financial assessment reveals council is “well-positioned” to fund the multi-functional digital hub, which has been revised to cost $14.3 million – compared to its original $11.4 million estimate.

The project – which is underpinned by $5.6 million Federal Government funding – is expected to create up to 66 jobs, while injecting between $3.2m and $7.2m into the local economy once fully completed.

According to the report, the project will provide significant benefits to Gawler and surrounding regions, without adversely affecting council’s “key financial performance indicators”.

“This project has a long history and the council have worked hard to achieve project outcomes that will provide benefits to the local community, as well as the sensitive refurbishment and adaptive reuse of significant heritage buildings,” the Skilmar report stated.

“Broadly, since the August 2015 prudential review, some of the risks associated with the (Civic Centre) project have materialised and been dealt with.

“The remaining risks are considered to be low and can be readily managed with good project planning and co-ordination.”

Gawler Mayor Karen Redman said council has long been financially preparing for the project, which will see the State Heritage-listed Gawler Town Hall and Gawler Institute buildings transformed into an “architecturally significant hub for community”.

“Council is committed to delivering a financially affordable and sustainable project that provides a return on our investment by acting as a catalyst for job creation and economic development in Gawler and our region,” she said.

Council was expected to decide on the building and construction contract at a special meeting last night, while construction is expected to commence later this month.

Laura Tilley

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Laura Tilley joined The Bunyip team after completing her Bachelor of Journalism at the University of South Australia and working at sister newspaper The Murray Pioneer, Renmark, recently. Laura undertook a student exchange to the UK, where she studied journalism courses at the University of Worcester. She completed several stints across different media outlets where she found her passion for journalism.

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