Green light for council chambers renovation to move into detailed design
The Waverley Council Chambers renovation project progressed with council voting last month to proceed to detailed design following extensive consultation with the community and councilors which resulted in changes to the initial concept.
Waverley Council is undertaking a major refurbishment of the Council Chambers building in Bondi Road to bring the building, built around 1913, up to code and to adapt it to the current and future needs of the council and the community.
The building is nearing the end of its life and over the years has had several costly one-time alterations and additions that have resulted in significant and costly fit-up, design, accessibility and compliance issues. It had many problems, including asbestos, major water leaks causing major internal damage, failing air conditioning, lack of accessibility, and poor durability and insulation.
The conceptual design of the renovation that will be cheaper than constructing a new building while solving many important problems.
Five options were considered for the building (three options for building renovation and two options for complete dismantling and rebuilding) and the most feasible and cost-effective option for ratepayers is a major renovation, including the complete removal of the pre-1960s structure.
Mayor of Waverley Paula Masselos said: ‘The bones of the building are good, and by not knocking it down we will keep all that carbon trapped and we will have a building that works better for staff and visitors and has a greater street front appeal. It will also be cheaper than constructing a new building while solving its many important problems.
“We have a clear vision for our public buildings and how we can make them more accessible and welcoming to our community, while facilitating modern and flexible working arrangements for our municipal staff. Additional customer service facilities offered in the renovated rooms will complement the Spring St.
“We also need to continue to make smart investments during this COVID recovery period and pouring money into a poorly designed building is not the solution,” Mayor Masselos said.
In June, the Council voted for:
1. approve the following changes to the draft:
(a) The following customer service options should be considered in the next stage of design:
(i) Justice of the Peace.
(ii) Key Customer Service Functions.
(iii) A service scheduler with a reservation system.
(b) Level 3 reception space should be made available for booking evenings and weekends at reasonable rates. Bookable meeting rooms must include kitchenettes for making tea and coffee.
(c) All meeting rooms should have audiovisual capabilities.
(d) Specialist traffic advice should be obtained to review the adequacy of the proposed access arrangements from Bondi Road to the building entrance in terms of safe pedestrian access. All recommendations from this advice shall, where feasible and practicable, be incorporated into the detailed design of the works.
(e) The feasibility of rainwater reuse, as outlined in the draft Environmental Factors Review (REF), should be further explored and, where feasible and practicable, incorporated into the detailed design of the works.
(f) Feasibility and practicality of opportunities to incorporate additional sustainability elements into the design should be assessed, including increased capacity of a solar photovoltaic system, a green travel plan and a climate management plan. recycling of site waste.
(g) A hard and soft landscape plan for the immediate surroundings of the building to improve internal and external links and the presentation of the street frontage.
2. Carry out the detailed design of the council chambers renovation project.
3. Notes that the Director General, as the delegated authority, will assess the final CROR report, peer review and review of submissions to determine if refurbishment of council rooms can go from before.
Division for the motion: Crs Fabiano, Gray, Keenan, Lewis, Masselos, Murray and Wy Kanak. Against the motion: Councilors Betts, Burrill, Goltsman and Nemesh.
‘Council needs to move the bedroom renovation project forward as a priority to avoid wasting taxpayers’ money on other temporary repairs, which are becoming increasingly expensive, and to make the building better suited for community use’ , said Mayor Masselos.
“The building was fit for purpose at first, but over the decades it developed more and more problems due to random alterations, breakdown-prone services and band-aid solutions over the years.
“We also recognize that the way we interact with our community has changed, we are more engaged now with our community than we have ever been, and the goal is to create a lasting civic asset where we can come together with the community and share ideas. ”
The Council has budgeted $17.8 million for the project, of which approximately $12 million is needed just to bring the building into compliance. Renovation plans began several years ago and were budgeted in the long-term financial plan.
“Over the past four years, Waverley Council has managed its budget very carefully and is in the enviable position of having $180 million in reserves. Our prudent budget management means that we are able to complete room renovations as part of our long-term financial plan, so we do not need to take out any debt.
Conceptual design highlights include:
- modern design that responds to the surrounding environment, preserves heritage features and brings the building up to modern building and safety standards, including the removal of asbestos
- renewable energy with new lightweight solar panels
- extend the north facade to accommodate a new elevator to allow community access to third floor rooms for council meetings and free up internal space to accommodate more staff (saves rental space)
- redesigned floor plates to improve access to natural light and ventilation
- major roof repairs
- replace equipment in good condition
- no removal of the existing car park
The Chambers building currently houses offices and meeting rooms for staff from various areas of the councils and is the venue for council meetings, citizenship ceremonies, advisory committee meetings and public task forces, community forums and other events.