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$1.1 million worth of street works put on hold

Benalla Rural City Council has delayed several proposed capital projects in order to fund a new cell and leachate pond at Benalla Landfill and Resource Recovery Centre.

MONIQUE FREER December 4, 2013 4:20am

Benalla Rural City Council has delayed about $1.1million worth of capital projects in order to fund a new cell and leachate pond at Benalla Landfill and Resource Recovery Centre.

Council has accepted the tender of Hoare Bros Pty Ltd to construct the new cell, and the tender of James Excavations for the construction of a leachate pond.

Benalla Rural City development and environment manager Veronica Schilling said the Environment Protection Authority required landfill cells to only be open for about two years, prompting the construction of Benalla’s new cell.

‘‘Our current cell was built in late 2010, early 2011 and it’s reaching the end of its useful life, it started life as a very deep hole and it’s now nearly a full hole,’’ Ms Schilling said.

Benalla Rural City chief executive Tony McIlroy said the investment into the landfill site was critical, as it was one of the town’s most valuable assets.

‘‘As far as we’re concerned it’s potentially one of our most valuable assets into the future,’’ Mr McIlroy.

‘‘When I came here 10 years ago, there was an estimate of 30 to 40 years life in it, and you think of the volume and potentially the capacity of the fill going into that as a revenue raiser, as well as serving the purpose of proper disposal of all waste.’’

According to the 2013-14 budget, the construction of the new landfill cell and pond had a budget allocation of $623000 for the proposed works, however, following tenders, the project was estimated to cost about $1.5 million.

Ms Schilling said the budget miscalculation largely arose from challenges posed by the shape of the new landfill cell.

‘‘This is the largest landfill cell we’d ever done and it’s also an unusual shape, which had implications on the amount of fabric liner, and it’s the first fully lined cell we’ve done so that meant we didn’t have previous prices to benchmark on,’’ she said.

‘‘The other challenge is when we originally did the calculations and budgeted, the Australian dollar was much higher.’’

The Ensign understands the capital projects that have been delayed were proposed to cost about $1.1million. They included the upgrade of a grader, works on the Denny St carpark entrance roads, streetlighting retrofit and Benalla Aquatic Centre redevelopment plans.

Ms Schilling said the projects that had been delayed were determined by their level of progress, and the time of year they would be delivered.

‘‘When we looked at savings we looked at what we’d actually be in a position to deliver in 2013-14 and two of the other projects that we postponed were because council had agreed to them but we didn’t have detailed design,’’ she said.

‘‘By the time we got the design completed and the approvals in place we would then be building them in the wrong time of the year, which would then have time and cost impacts to us.’’

No projects involving community requests were considered for deferral, Ms Schilling said.

Construction of the new cell and leachate pond is expected to start early next year, and will take approximately 12 to 16 weeks.

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