Tocumwal foreshore building tenders open

By Daniel Hughes

Four new design concepts for the Tocumwal Foreshore have been submitted to Berrigan Shire Council as part of the tender process to build a new dining, retail and visitor information building.

Three of the new designs will now be formally assessed, along with two quotes for the original controversial design for the building.

As part of this process, the public is again being invited to have their say on the proposed concept plans.

Four designs, including the original concept from GPG Architects, have been put to a community survey.

This is the second time the community will be asked for their input, after council’s preferred concept plans tabled in January this year were criticised by factions of the community.

Many objected to the lack of space allocated to tourism information in the proposed building.

The creation of two hospitality businesses in the concept, including a fine dining restaurant on the entire top floor, also caused some concern for the business community.

There was also one other space will be set aside in the design for a retail store.

Based on the community backlash, council chose not to go out to a construction tender.

It instead incited contractors to tender for design and construction.

New designs to be considered come from Gilchrists, Maire/Bowden and MS Constructions.
Quoting on the original concept were Precise Build and MS Constructions.

Mayor Matthew Hannan said the community can vote on the concept designs until July 7.

‘‘The proposals can be viewed at our council libraries or on the website, and we have a survey set up to hear feedback,’’ Cr Hannan said.

‘‘At the end of the day we will have to wait to hear from residents; some people will like different things to others.

‘‘A decision will likely be made in August, to allow for as much community engagement as possible.’’

Council has set the project cost at $1.6 million, but has indicated it would consider a suitable design up to $1.8 million.

The building is just one part of a larger foreshore redevelopment, which has been continuing in smaller stages. One of the first stages was creating the Tocumwal splash park.

Tocumwal Foreshore committee president Ross Bodey said the new building will be an asset to the project and the town.

‘‘Tocumwal is moving ahead in leaps and bounds and once done the building will be a fabulous development for our town,’’ he said.

‘‘I’m quite biased as I live in Tocumwal, but I think our town is the number one town on the Newell Hwy. In fact, we should change our town’s address to 1 Newell Hwy to reflect that.

‘‘We have a lot of travellers stop in town on their holidays north or south. They stop at the foreshore in Tocumwal, let the kids run around for 10 minutes while they get a coffee.

‘‘After they see our amazing town, they come back to visit, and soon enough 10 years later when they retire, they move up here.

‘‘The new building will be a major draw card for our town.’’