Major refurbishment of Sutherland Entertainment Centre not expected to be completed until August 2023

A council report estimates construction will commence in November, 2021, and be completed in August, 2023. Picture: John Veage
A council report estimates construction will commence in November, 2021, and be completed in August, 2023. Picture: John Veage

A $21.8 million upgrade of the Sutherland Entertainment Centre is not expected to be completed for five years.

This is two years longer than what was envisaged when Sutherland Shire Council approved the project in April this year.

An update report by council staff to the October meeting of the Infrastructure Committee set out projected milestones, subject to confirmation following the appointment of an external project manager.

The report estimated construction would commence in November, 2021, and be completed in August, 2023.

Other steps in the process will include concept design, community consultation, submitting a business case to the Office of Local Government, preparing a design for the development application, gaining approval and selecting a building contractor.

The report said, since the council gave formal approval six months ago, work had been undertaken to establish the project structure and key supporting documents, which would provide the governance framework.

Due to the scale of the project an external probity adviser had been appointed, the report said.

 A project control group, consisting of senior staff, had resolved that, due to the scale and complexity of the project, it would be prudent to engage the services of an external project manager.

Tenders would be called for full project management services.

The report said, following the calling of expressions of interest for design work, a shortlist of designers would be asked to submit tenders.

The project will be largely funded by $15.861 million paid by Suez, the Lucas Heights waste service operator and $5.6 million from the Section 94 levy on developments.

The council decision in April this year followed years of debate over whether to build a new centre or renovate the building which opened 41 years ago.

Three options were considered – a basic refurbishment, major refurbishment and knockdown-rebuild.

Mayor Carmelo Pesce said at the time a community survey carried out late last year found most ratepayers preferred a major renovation.

Labor councillor Barry Collier unsuccessfully moved in April for the council prepare a business case for the construction of a new Sutherland Shire Civic Centre precinct, incorporating a new entertainment facility and administration offices. 

Cr Collier said a major refurbishment of the Entertainment Centre was a “Band Aid solution”.

“Spending $21.8 million on a dysfunctional brick building that will eventually have to be replaced is simply throwing good money after bad,” he said.

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