Last Friday (27/4), Council issued two items of interest to residents
1. GESCA Announcement – the following appeared on the GESAC Facebook Page and the GESAC website:
“Council expects to be issued with a Certificate of Occupancy, covering the whole facility, at the start of the week of 30 April. This will be the first time that Council staff will have unrestricted access to GESAC as a whole.
GESAC staff will then complete the commissioning of the Centre to ensure that the plant is working properly, all safety requirements and in place and all of the health and recreational facilities are fully functional.
Details of the opening arrangements will be announced as soon as possible.”
While GERA welcomes the news that GESAC may be opening in the near future, given Council’s abject communication failure on the GESAC opening, GERA admits to scepticism when reading this announcement.
- Despite practical completion/handover/Certificate of Occupancy being imminent (i.e. sometime next week) Council is still unable to provide a definite handover date.
- In the past, Council has advised that after practical completion, extensive commissioning, outfitting and staff training would be required before the facility would be open to the public. Hopefully, since Council has had partial access to the facility since January, some of this has already occurred. However, no indication is given of commissioning, outfitting and staff training that has occurred and is yet to occur. How much more informative would this announcement have been if a timeline to reach “fully functional” status had been included.
2. The Agenda for the 1st May, 2012, Council Meeting has been posted on Council’s website. Seriously frustrated residents, ratepayers and GESAC members will not be surprised to learn that, despite the above announcement, the entire GESAC facility barely rates a mention in the agenda.
The most significant mentions are
a) In Records of Assembly, 27th March and 3rd April 2012, GESAC appears as a heading. Councillor Assemblies are informal, in camera meetings between by Councillor/s and Senior Administrators to enable Councillors to be briefed on administrative activities, project updates and issues etc.
b) In the Financial Report for the period ending 31st March, 2012 – Item 9.10
i. Capital Works Forecast Adjustments (page 2)
- Leased asset (gym equipment) decrease 639K
- GESAC Café Furniture and Fittings decrease 344K
In both cases, the decrease is due to accounting “reclassifications” – no money has actually been saved and no reason for the reclassification has been given.
ii. Financial Performance (page 6) year to date shows
- Loss of income expected from GESAC – $1.93m
- GESAC consulting suite income loss 60K
As mentioned in previous posts, it is not possible determine the offsetting savings (if any) in expenditures resulting from GESAC not opening.
The significance of the GESAC facility and its potential to be a financial burden on ratepayers demands that Council live up to its promises of open, transparent and accountable governance (i.e. readily available and easily understandable informative information presented in a timely manner to the community by those accountable to the community).
This is the responsibility of all Councillors and once again this Council has failed.