The sudden news last week that the contractors undertaking the construction of the Boundary Road Extension went into Voluntary Administration was certainly unexpected but this makes it no less frustrating for Council as well as the community that is now further inconvenienced with a major project being suspended.
From the moment senior Council staff received notification that Shearer Contracting Pty Ltd were under Administration a series of plans and strategic meetings to review options were started.
We are working around the clock to minimise the disruption and to get this project re-started as quickly as possible.
In some respects Council has been fortunate that this has occurred relatively early in the construction phase.
Sound financial management principles were adopted in the drafting of the contract such that only a relatively small component of the total project value has been spent on work completed to date.
This means any hit to ratepayer’s funds is minimised because of this situation.
Many people may be questioning why a company with such a long and established history has called in the Administrators. The answer may never be totally clear.
However, this company did not just have one project in Dubbo but had major projects in play across the state and all these projects are now under review.
Voluntary administration gives a company a chance to consider its financial position and its future whether this means trying to continue to operate, find a buyer or wind up the company.
The Administrators (Rapsey Griffiths Insolvency and Advisory) have a process to work through for all stakeholders and creditors associated with the Shearer Contracting including local and other NSW based sub-contractors.
The effect on other businesses will vary and is a matter for those involved.
The first creditors meeting being held in Singleton next Monday may provide more detail but in reality the process for the companies involved may be a long and complex one.
The decision to award the tender was made at the October meeting of Council. The preparation and advertising of the tenders occurred prior to that while Dubbo Regional Council was operating under an Administrator.
All ten of the elected Councillors approved and voted for the project and the Council is committed to having this major piece of infrastructure completed as soon as possible.
For now Council needs to consider its future options, with Council staff reviewing existing works program to potentially undertake the works using a combination of Council staff and sub-contractors.
In the meantime our staff have done everything possible to ensure the site is safe and that there is minimum disruption to nearby residents and traffic in the area.
And nobody wants to see a partially finished roundabout, a road that seems to go to nowhere and an empty construction site.
I am confident that we are getting the very best advice and Council is in a strong position and doing everything possible to find an acceptable solution that gets this project back on track as soon as possible.
About the Boundary Road extension
When fully completed Boundary Road will extend from Wheelers Lane through to Sheraton Road.
The full extension will be 1.61km of new arterial road servicing South East Dubbo.
Stage 1, which is funded by the NSW Government, commenced in January is an extension from Wheelers Lane to Alexandrina Avenue including a new roundabout at the intersection of Wheelers Lane and Boundary Road and an adjacent footpath.
Dubbo Regional Council for more information visit www.dubbo.nsw.gov.au.