From day one, the Pools Steering Committee (which oversees the Glen Eira Sport and Aquatic Centre – at $50+m it is the largest capital works project ever undertaken by Council) has been deservedly criticised for scant reporting. Typically, the only information available to residents on the progress of GESAC has been the headings only reports/minutes of the Pools Steering Committee. GERA believes it is time this changed.
The following is an outline of information presented to residents re the delay in the GESAC opening:
- The 20 September, 2011, Council Minutes includes the Pools Steering Committee Report of 8th September (Section 8.a.iii). For the first time the Pools Steering Committee Report (Section C.ii) mentions “Update on Liquidated Damages”. No details beyond these 4 words were provided. The verbage (not included in the minutes, which accompanied the report presentation) of Cr. Lipshutz (Head of the Pools Steering Committee) emphasised that GESAC would open as scheduled in December, 2011 and that Council Staff were “on top of the work”.
- At the 22 October, 2011, Council Meeting Minutes, GESAC is not mentioned.
- The 2 November Council Meeting Minutes includes (Section 8.i) the Pools Steering Committee Report of 5 October, 2011. This report is again headings only and no mention is made of Liquidated Damages. And again the verbage (not included in the minutes, which accompanied the report presentation) had Cr. Lipshutz stating that GESAC was on schedule for a December opening.
- The 22 November Council Meeting Minutes include (section 8.a.i) the Pools Steering Committee Minutes of 3 November, 2011. The minutes include an outline of progress, a delay in the opening date and estimated $1m liquidated damages. Again not recorded in Council Minutes, the verbage that accompanied the presentation of the Steering Commitee Minutes, included Cr. Lipshutz stating that comprehensive details would be provided to Council at the December Council Meeting.
- The 13 December Council Meeting Minutes include (Section 8.a.iv) the Pools Steering Committee Minutes of 1st December, 2011. These minutes include “further delays to the Gym and Stadium”. A delay in the opening date was belatedly and officially announced, however, no anticipated opening date was given other than “after the end of January”. No details, beyond that included in the Steering Committee Minutes, were provided. The inclusion of a statement that the next meeting of the Pools Steering Committee will be “depending on the progress of the work, the Chair agreed to call the next meeting for some time in January”, does not indicate a high management priority.
Since the December Meeting Council has provided little information on GESAC despite an article and letters appearing in the local Leader newspaper (17 January, 2011 – which mentioned a March opening) and resident/member dissatisfaction being recorded on the GESAC website (which doesn’t have a construction update beyond October, 2011).
At last night’s Council Meeting (the first for 2012 – 7 February) GESAC was only mentioned in relation to the negative impact the GESAC lost revenue had on the financial results in December (-$0.5m). Even though GESAC construction resumed on 16 January, no update on progress or the cause of the delay and no anticipated opening date was given.
GERA genuinely hopes that Council’s belief in the financial and social success of GESAC comes to fruition. However, given the magnitude of the GESAC project and it’s potential impact on Glen Eira finances, GERA is extremely concerned at the lack of information being provided. This lack of information is not in line with Council’s claims of open, transparent, accountable governance*. Surely, Glen Eira residents and GESAC members deserve more than silence.
* Refer to our original posting on Governance and what constitutes good governance – our apologies but you will need to click on “Governance” in the topics section (right hand side of the screen) and scroll to first posting shown – it is entited “Governance”