Wouldn’t it be fantastic if the residents of Glen Eira had a council that was upfront, direct, and fully transparent? Wouldn’t it be fantastic if residents knew how much money was going down the drain, wasted, misspent on lawyers, stuff ups, and countless other ‘irregularities’? Alas, this is definitely not the way council functions.

Last council meeting saw a public question asked about Duncan Mackinnon pavilion. Readers will remember that apart from being years and years behind schedule, plus the fact that originally the stated price was around 6 million and then ballooned out to 10 million, there were plenty of other problems. Maxstra, the original main contractor ostensibly got the boot and another contractor replaced this company. The pavilion is still not finished! Here’s what the public question asked and council’s response –

What exact sums of money has Council paid to Maxstra Constructions prior to their dismissal as major contractor for the Duncan Mackinnon pavilion? Are funds still payable to Maxtra following the termination of their contract? And, what were the total invoiced costs for legal advice regarding the termination of the contract?”

“Maxstra Constructions have been paid $2.81 million. Whether any other payments are due them cannot be determined until all works are completed. As the balance of the work was taken out of Maxstra’s hands no legal costs have been incurred in relation to a termination because a termination has not occurred.”

Going back into history, it’s worthwhile considering the following as well.

  1. On the 22nd May 2012, council awarded the contract to Maxstra for the amount of $9,744,651.52
  2. On the 10th June 2014 a new contract was awarded to Fimma for $8,185,711.67

Doing our maths, things just don’t add up. If Maxstra has already been paid $2.81 million, with the possibility of receiving even more, then does this mean that the Duncan Mackinnon Pavilion project is literally MILLIONS OVER BUDGET?

We also can’t accept that there will not be any further wrangling over these sums, which potentially means more lawyers, more courts, more settlements, and more cost to residents. Nor can we believe that a company like Fimma would undertake work for a set price and then be prepared to have that sum whittled way down.

For years now there has been a stony silence concerning this project – no upfront public announcements of what’s really going on. Just a buried sentence or two in annual reports (that 99% of people don’t bother to read). So, how about a simple, honest answer to these questions councillors?

  • How much over budget is Duncan Mackinnon pavilion?
  • Can residents expect more legal battles? And how much is this likely to cost?