Wangaratta Council turns to federal government to pay the flood damage bills

QUICK MEETING: Cr Ruth Amery and chief executive Brendan McGrath on Tuesday, before a civic reception with former councillors and staff. Pictures: SHANA MORGAN

QUICK MEETING: Cr Ruth Amery and chief executive Brendan McGrath on Tuesday, before a civic reception with former councillors and staff. Pictures: SHANA MORGAN

The federal government has committed to paying Wangaratta Council $645,884 to repair serious damage caused by flooding over winter.

Councillors voted unanimously on Tuesday night to award the contract for repairs to Oxley-based company Cooks Earthmoving Laser Landforming.

Infrastructure services director Alan Clark said Wangaratta’s roads sustained considerable damage from being inundated with water for long periods.

“When we go through these type of events, we always seek to get as much funding as we can from elsewhere and the national disaster fund, which is a federal government fund, is covering this event,” he said.

“At this stage, our initial estimates have been accepted by the Department of Treasury and Finance.”

Director Alan Clark

Director Alan Clark

Chief executive Brendan McGrath said storm repairs had set back progress on Wangaratta’s ordinary capital works program, but plans were in place for extra resources to get back on track.

“We expect to complete about 84 or 85 per cent of this year’s project, which is a pretty good effort, but where we’d like it to be - we’d certainly like it to be closer to 95 per cent,” he said.

“There are some reasons for that completion rate: the storm events we’ve had in the past few months have had a significant impact on the works that we deliver ourselves … we’ve had to take some people off the capital jobs to do storm clean up and storm damage repairs.”

Indi MP Cathy McGowan was present to hear how Wangaratta Council would be bidding for federal funding to help cover the $25-30 million of capital works planned for the next three financial years, which were already designed and ready to go to out to tender.

“I see we have the federal member in the gallery tonight so hopefully she’ll put in a good word for us for a couple of those projects if we ask her nicely,” Mr McGrath said.

A $869,000 contract was also awarded to Wangaratta-based company Bordignon Excavations to put in underground drainage and an extra 66 45-degree parking bays in Park Lane, next to the Barr Reserve.

“It will take the pressure off during sporting events, especially the Auskick, which ends up a very busy time down there,” Mr Clark said.

Tuesday’s meeting was completed in just 24 minutes, with little debate.

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