MidCoast Coucil is continuing to push ahead with its plan to consolidate the Forster and Taree offices under the one roof despite significant opposition from a section of the community and some councillors.
At the July monthly ordinary meeting the majority of councillors agreed to award the architect services to Australasian architect, Group GSA Pty Ltd.
The website advises Group GSA has eight offices in Australia and Asia, as well as a national and global network of strategic alliance offices.
Group GSA was one of 22 companies to put forward tenders.
According to a report written by MidCoast Council property and commercial services acting manager, Allison Anthony, the evaluation panel recommended that Group GSA's services offering and pricing was the best value for money compared to other tenders.
The confidential process was overseen by Melbourne-based project manager, Montlaur Project Services.
There is no problem in the financial statements.Len Roberts
Councillors Kathryn Bell and Peter Epov, who voiced their opposition to the 'Masters move', were both cautioned by mayor David West on a number of occasions for using the phrase 'black hole'.
The councillors were referring to confidential financial statements discussed during the June meeting.
"You are treading a very fine line on where you are going," Cr West said.
"To say there is a black hole is just fear mongering and scuttlebutt."
Cr West said he wanted to ensure ratepayers there was no problem with council's financial statements and there was no black hole.
"We are dealing with the appointment of architect services," Len Roberts said.
"There is no problem in the financial statements."
Despite vocal opposition from Crs Bell and Epov, the remaining councillors voted to continue the project.
"I believe all the processes council has done has been done legitimately," Cr Troy Fowler said.
No MCC Move to Master Group spokesperson, Katrina Pearson asked if the tender awarded to the architect would be for 100 per cent of the project.
"If not, what additional architect consultancy costs will be incurred to complete the project?" she queried.
"We are concerned council will spend at least $1.8 million in consultancy fees before realistic construction costs and the overall project viability is calculated and determined.
"Council, it's time to re-evaluate and shut the gateway," she said.
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