Bellarine MP Lisa Neville said she is “extremely upset” and “annoyed” with the Borough of Queenscliffe’s handling of the project to date.
The senior government minister, who played a pivotal role in securing $3.15 million for the stage two works ahead of the 2014 state election, says she has asked the Sports Minister's office to carefully monitor its progress going forward.
“All along the Council wanted this funding to be provided in our first budget as they were ready to go,” Ms Neville said.
“I have once again raised concerns with the Minister for Sport’s office about the slow progress [and] I have asked them to intervene as a matter of priority.”
In August last year a clearly frustrated Ms Neville pledged new netball courts and cricket nets – key elements of the redevelopment – would be ready by 2018 or she would “dig them herself.”
A civil works contract has been awarded but construction is yet to commence.
Council has committed in recent days to have the facilities finished within the next five months - a deadline the government will be enforcing, Ms Neville said.
“I am concerned that part of the delays relate to the council pursuing other projects and not being able to project manage all of those at once,” Ms Neville said.
“This is a critical project for the community and must take priority over any other project.
“I share the community’s anger about this and will continue to push the Council and seek ministerial intervention if the project does not commence works by December.”
Council has blamed higher than expected carpark drainage works for the blowout. It has denied its decision to tie the reserve project to its Destination Queenscliff plan – incorporating a cabin development and tourist activities on nearby Shortland’s Bluff - is responsible.
“The civil construction program indicates that the netball courts, car park (and associated drainage works) and cricket nets will be completed by April,” it said in a statement.
“The budget for the project has increased based on the detailed design, quantity survey and market response through a public tender. Council is working hard to identify project savings without compromising objectives of the project.
“The eco-cabins plans have not impacted the delivery of the sport precinct project.”
The Borough will take money from other budgeted projects to fund the shortfall, including
■ $150,000 in loan borrowings proposed for LED light replacements
■ $75,000 earmarked for lighting the path between the pier and ferry, and
■ $180,000 from the Borough’s asset renewal fund.
Around $400,000 of the $3.15 million grant has been spent on lights, solar panels, goal netting and project designs, Council said.