THE Minister for Police has responded to the Member for Port Stephen, Kate Washington’s question about the cost breakdown for the demountable building that the government insists represents a “$1 million upgrade” to Tea Gardens Police Station.
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The three questions posed were:
1. What is the total amount expended on the Tea Gardens Police Station upgrade as of 13 February 2020?
2. What is the amount expended on the Tea Gardens Police Station upgrade as of 5 February 2020 in relation to: planning and design; demolition and waste removal; capital costs of new building;on-site construction work; information technology costs and other costs not listed above?
3. What is the expected total cost of the Tea Gardens Police Station Upgrade?
The answer tabled in full was, “It is difficult to break down costs to a specific date mid-construction by virtue of the way that costs on a construction project are incurred. The following figures relate to aggregated costs as at 31 January 2020, excluding GST: 1. to 2. $500,158 3. $934,000.”
A comprehensive breakdown of expenditure was not provided.
The brown box police station add-ons at Tea Gardens and Karuah are part of the 2018-2021 Regional Small Police Station Program that aims to deliver 15 sustainable and repeatable stations at a cost of $118 million.
The project by the NSW Police Property Group, focused on accessibility, mobility and visibility.
Visibility perhaps, but not the type dismayed locals were at all expecting.
The promised $1 million upgrade was first announced onsite by Premier Gladys Berejiklian on 1 June 2019 to a large local crowd with much fanfare.
The Development Application for Tea Gardens was lodged with MidCoast Council on 11 April 2019, however locals have not been provided any opportunity for meaningful consultation prior to the brown box installation on 24 January this year.
Landscaping has been completed and red NSW state building barriers still in place.
Disappointed members of the local Progress Association are planning a meeting about the matter with reference to the NSW Heritage Act 1977.
Both the Courthouse and Police residence are classified as having local heritage significance, dating back to the 1890s.
The courthouse was built around 1910 and the police residence was added in 1915.
Both are from a time when Police Constables were provided with a boat to navigate the river in an era when activities such as illegal whisky distilleries made from old copper boilers were being discovered and confiscated.
The brown box addition appears at odds with the heritage orders that have been in place since 2004.
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By Sandra MURRAY