Beaudesert's $8 million library project rises to $13.5 million

FUNDING: Council will apply for additional funding to create a library and community hub connected to council offices at Davidson Park.
FUNDING: Council will apply for additional funding to create a library and community hub connected to council offices at Davidson Park.

SCENIC Rim Regional Council will apply for a grant under the federal government Building Better Regions Fund to help increased costs of building a new town library in Davidson Park.

Councillors voted to apply for the grant during their general meeting after a report revealed the estimated cost of $8 million dollars had ballooned to $13.5 million with plans to install an extension connecting the library to the council building.

Half of the extra $5.5 million would potentially be covered by government funds with the other half to be paid by council.

Mayor Greg Christensen said the grant application was not to fund the connection or any work to the existing council building, although the project did include integrating the customer service centre with the new facility.

The decision to support the grant application was accepted by all councillors except Division 1 councillor Derek Swanborough.

An amendment to the motion was put forward by Cr Swanborough who asked that architect drawings shown to councillors be made available for public viewing.

Cr Swanborough expressed concern that the additional funds did not include works to connect the council administration building to the community hub and library.

"It's grown from $8 million to $13 million... we are funding a $13 million building today ... and an unknown figure for all the other work in the admin building," he said.

"I think the public has the right to know if they are going to commit to an unknown amount in the future, that they should be able to see the drawings.

"There is maybe $2.5 million in grant money but also another $2.5 to $3 million in money that has to be found from the rates. We owe it to the public to show them what is proposed.. and allow them to see how their money is being spent.

Cr Swanborough was backed by Division 5 councillor Marshall Chalk and Division 6 councillor Duncan McInnes, with all other councillors taking the stance that the engineers' final drawing could be made public when plans were tabled in council next month.

Cr Christensen said the $8 million dollars had been a preliminary estimate and that typical modeling for project budgets allowed for plus or minus 40 per cent.

He said the project had evolved after consultation and community engagement identified what was needed to create a community hub and library that would remain relevant for the next 50 years.

"This is a project that needs to stand the test of time," he said.

"We want a place where young mums can bring their babies and high school students can have a quiet space to be online.

"We would fail the community by sizing it too small- it would be easy to to do something cheaper that would keep someone happy for four years. I want to get things right for the long term."

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