Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Hall work halted

. . . and others, totalling $13m

- By LAURA GREEN

The Deniliquin Town Hall and Estates Building refurbishm­ent is facing indefinite delays as a result of Edward River Council’s exclusion from Victoria’s border bubble.

Other projects have also been delayed due to the decision, which has baffled council officials — including Mayor Norm Brennan — as their LGA has never recorded a case of COVID-19.

‘‘We have written to (Victorian) Premier Daniel Andrews and his colleagues seeking his urgent considerat­ion to reinstate our border bubble membership’’ Cr Brennan said.

‘‘We are also in regular contact with the Cross Border Commission­er, health authoritie­s and local members of parliament on both sides of the border to advocate on our behalf.’’

The Civic Place precinct, scheduled to be finished in January and officially opened in February after minor supply shortages caused delays, is now in limbo as the major contractor with experience in heritage refurbishm­ents is based in Victoria.

Under Victorian rules, workers who travel across the border would have to follow 14 day stay at home orders on returning home from Edward River LGA.

The lead contractor on the project is Moretto Building, which is based in Shepparton.

Council general manager Phil Stone said some work for the civic precinct was continuing off-site through local subcontrac­tors, including fabricatio­n and glazing work, procuremen­t of furnishing, carpets and other materials.

‘‘Whilst we always aim to engage locals from within the region, some work such as the Civic precinct project requires specialist­s with experience in such old buildings,’’ Mr Stone said.

‘‘Concerning’’ is the word Cr Brennan has used to describe the number of works impacted.

Works totalling $13,550,000 are facing delay, including the roofing refurbishm­ent at the Peppin Heritage Centre, infrastruc­ture including bridges, roads and footpaths, the Seniors Living Precinct, civic buildings, and waste.

Council is not the only organisati­on affected, according to general manager Phil Stone.

‘‘We are receiving reports from many different sectors of specialist workers not being able to work here now.”

A $2.5 million upgrade to SunRice’s Deniliquin based rice mill is also halted until specialist workers can travel to the area from Wodonga.

Numerous appeals from distraught locals affected by the exclusion were also made to council for help, including students, local businesses, and families who need access to out-of-town medical care.

‘‘We again plead with the Victorian Government, with the Premier Daniel Andrews, the health minister Martin Foley — we are not a risk to Victoria, but we very much need you,’’ Cr Brennan said.

‘‘Please, acknowledg­e our COVID-free status, the employment we provide Victorians and the need for our residents to access your services.’’

 ??  ?? Works at the Deniliquin Estates Building have been delayed.
Works at the Deniliquin Estates Building have been delayed.

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