The Cox Street redevelopment project will be deferred till next financial year while Council seeks further funding to complete the works.
The project is currently jointly funded by Council and the State Government with an overall project budget of $4.6M. This project estimate was based on both the initial concept designs completed by Michael Smith and Associates and the detailed designs, completed by Meinhardt Engineering in November 2018.
Tenders were advertised in May 2019 and five submissions were received ranging from $8.8M to $14M in price, significantly exceeding the allocated budget for the project.
Southern Grampians Shire Council Mayor Cr Mary-Ann Brown said Council remain committed to the redevelopment of the Hamilton CBD.
“The Cox Street project builds on the significant strategic planning and urban design initiatives prepared for Hamilton as part of the Hamilton Masterplan adopted in 2011. We remain committed to creating an entrance to the Hamilton CBD that increases civic pride for locals in their town and increases business investment and tourism opportunities in Hamilton,” Cr Brown said.
“We are disappointed at having to delay the commencement of the project. However given the tenders we received were all considerably higher than anticipated, we really have no other option. We just aren’t prepared to invest any further community money into the project. The CEO and myself will now seek to meet with both Minister for Roads (Jaala Pulford) and Minister for Regional Development (Jaclyn Symes) to progress the discussion to deliver the shortfall,” Cr Brown said.
“We are confident the project has the support of both Regional Development Victoria and Regional Roads Victoria and have had some encouraging discussions already. However, should we be unable to secure external funding prior to July next year, then Council will need to discuss options for the future direction of the project,” Cr Brown concluded.
The Cox Street redevelopment aims to activate prime retail frontage, create new jobs, address access and safety issues and improve community amenity at the major entrance into Hamilton. It is the first of five stages in the Hamilton CBD revitalisation project that represent sequenced design and construction phases over the next decade including Melville Oval and Lonsdale Street, Botanic Gardens and Gray Street, Brown and Thompson Streets, and French and Kennedy Streets.
Work will continue this financial year on Stage two of the CBD Revitalisation Masterplan which consists of detailed designs for Gray Street, Lonsdale Street and Melville Oval which aims to explore options to improve walking and cycling, introduce public art and signage, improve public spaces and parking, as well as improvements to landscaping.