HANSEN Yuncken has been awarded a $10.1 million contract by Albury Council to build the major parts of the Lavington Sportsground redevelopment including grandstand extension.
The council voted 6-1 to accept the Hansen Yuncken tender ahead of Lavington-based builder Zauner Construction with a concern raised by Cr Murray King about the eligibility of one of the tender assessment panel dismissed by general manager Frank Zaknich.
Cr King queried whether staff were aware the panel member was a former employee of the successful tenderer.
Mr Zaknich said the matter was an operational one.
"All the declarations, conflict of interest processes are reviewed before the panel is assembled," he said.
Mayor Kevin Mack supported the general manager and said the council chamber wasn't the appropriate forum for the discussion.
Hansen Yuncken is a national construction firm with the Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre one of its most recent major projects in Albury.
Zauner Construction managing director Garry Zauner and a large contingent of employees were present at the meeting last night.
Cr David Thurley said giving preference to local companies over external parties on major projects was always a difficult decision.
"All the evidence would show that both companies we are talking about are winning and doing contracts all over Australia," he said.
"We cannot just say 'if you are not local, you are not getting the job' because if that was the case Zauners wouldn't get a job in Tasmania for a start."
Deputy mayor Amanda Cohn said she was satisfied with responses from staff on the items which were costing more than the original estimates.
"They are unavoidable. They are to do with building codes, fire safety, disability access," she said.
"I was really trying hard to find some savings to the ratepayer in this report, but I have to concede the staff has done an excellent job."
Another tweak to the project has been the grandstand function room being relocated with $3 million being added to the overall redevelopment budget.
The council rejected the original amenities building design more than a year ago.
Cr Mack said the grandstand and other amenities were overdue for a major upgrade.
"It is not the grande dame it used to be," he said.
"In 2009 the council acquired the ground because no one else really wanted it.
"This project has had its issues.
"Do I agree we should be spending more money? No I don't.
"But we're committed to the project, we're committed to the fact we need a world-class regional facility which will attract visitation and sport to this region."
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