Hepburn Hub project now expected to cost more than $9.6 million, works set to re-commence in early 2019

TOOLS will be picked back up with work set to re-commence on The Rex project in early 2019.

It comes after a planning permit was issued at Hepburn Shire Council’s December meeting on Tuesday evening.

Council’s Chief Executive Officer, Evan King, said a planning permit should have been issued for the project from the outset due to the library being moved to the facility, meaning the building required a permit due to a change of use.

General Manager for Infrastructure Bruce Lucas said his team had undertaken significant work to understand the current and expected project costs since works had ceased on the project. 

He said the transformation of The Rex facility into Hepburn Hub was now estimated to cost an additional $1.631 million, meaning the total construction cost has crept up to $2.6 million.

The entire project is now set to cost in excess of $9.6 million, including the purchase of the building for $6.3 million.

Photo: Luka Kauzlaric

Photo: Luka Kauzlaric

The extra funding, passed by council, will be acquired through asset sales and drawing on council’s Debt Reduction Reserve.

Birch Ward Councillor Kate Redwood said it was a large figure on top of what was originally costed, but she was happy it would have no negative impact on any existing projects.

Works were immediately ceased on the project when Interim CEO Bruce Lucas took the reigns of the organisation in June, after former CEO Aaron van Egmond resigned.

The Rex Project is a major council initiative which will deliver a modern administration centre, library, social enterprise cafe and facilities, as well as a community auditorium and cinema. 

The Rex project is the first stage of a broader program to create more community spaces in Daylesford, which will include upgrades to its swimming pool and Town Hall.

Mr King said the facility would create a siloed mentally for council workers. 

“Officers are currently working on desks in hallways – the current facilities are inadequate for a modern day office.”

However, the re-opening of The Rex, including its car park, is unlikely to ease parking pressures in the town, with only 28 car parks to be available for public use. 

The project could be completed by as early as October 2019 if all goes according to plan.

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