The first stage of the Wollondilly Cultural Precinct project is coming to life, but a big challenge lies ahead for councillors.
At its next meeting, on Tuesday, November 28, Wollondilly Council will consider the preferred funding model for the next stage of the project, the government services building.
Council the preferred model for the government services building, library and village green is expected to bring a substantial $732 million in economic benefits for the Picton town centre, the broader Wollondilly community and other service organisations.
Independent economic analysis has shown that over the next 25 years this project will also deliver 166 jobs during the construction phase, support 110 additional ongoing jobs in local business in the operation phase and $185 million in benefits that flow direct to local Picton and Wollondilly businesses.
The proposed self-funding model will provide lettable space for co-location of either government services or commercial organisations.
It will meet an immediate need for a new space to attract and house the workforce required to support the growth of the shire and to provide an appropriate physical point of contact for community members and visitors to meet with council and government services.
Stage one of the precinct has seen the completion of a refurbished shire hall, Wollondilly library extension, children’s services building and additional car parking in the town centre, as well as the Wollondilly performing arts centre (pictured above) which is tracking well for completion in mid-2024.
The proposed stages two, three and four would be the commencement of construction of the government services building followed by the library and village green.
“The government services building is an important step towards maintaining effective service delivery for our growing community,’’ says Mayor Matt Gould ahead of the November council meeting.
“Unfortunately, our current administration building has reached end of life and is rapidly deteriorating, requiring costly ongoing repairs due to its age and condition.
“It is too small for current staffing levels, let alone additional staff that will be needed as a result of our growth and doesn’t meet current work, health and safety standards.
“There is no question the current admin building needs to be replaced in one form or another.
“Council has been considering the best path forward for some time and in June 2023 endorsed the submission of a DA for a new government services building and library, as well as commencing the tender process,” he said.
“This endorsement was based on a sound business case, but council also sought further financial analysis to help us make a well informed decision about how best to proceed with the new building in a way that has the smallest footprint possible whilst ensuring it can be delivered at no cost to ratepayers over the life of the building.
“This financial analysis and examination of the preferred and alternative models has now been undertaken; the analysis has been reviewed by the independent members on council’s audit risk and improvement committee, and it will now be reviewed at the November council meeting.”
“The financial analysis confirms that the preferred model of a new government services building is the best economic outcome for council and the community – as it is the only option where construction comes at no cost to ratepayers over the life of the building and with no impact to council services or our record investment into road repair,’’ Mayor Gould said.