Horsham Town Hall redeveloment needs to speed up: Mayor David Grimble

Horsham Mayor David Grimble.

Horsham Mayor David Grimble.

HORSHAM Mayor David Grimble wants work on the city's town hall redevelopment to ramp up to prevent costs from blowing out.

Soil contamination, found in a bore in May, has caused significant delays to the $19.6-million project.

Councillors voiced their frustration about the delays at Monday night's council meeting in Horsham.

Cr Grimble said although council felt let down by consultants' initial reports, it was time to move forward.

"The project has slowed down and we need to rattle the cage and get things moving again," he said.

"Our project managers need to make sure we progress the project so we don't have inadvertent delays, which will push out the timeline of the project and ultimately the cost.

"We need to ascertain where the contamination is, how to manage it and move on, but it's been very slow and I'm sure everyone in the chamber feels that frustration."

Council's technical services manager John Martin said yesterday he believed the contamination might be less severe than anticipated.

He said a full report about the contamination would be released today.

"The preliminary results have been encouraging," he said.

"It suggests the likely cost will be much less than the worst case scenario we had been planning for."

Mr Martin said council might be able to treat the contaminated material at an accredited site in the Wimmera.

He said if highly contaminated, the soil would have to be transported to Dandenong or interstate for treatment.

"What Kane Constructions needs to do now is re-sequence all of its activities and plans for the site," he said.

Mr Martin hopes the contractor's revised plans will be finalised within a fortnight, which will determine whether the project's schedule will blow out.

He said Kane Constructions was preparing to re-start work in the stage area of the development.

Previous preparations for concrete pouring were hampered by rain.

Coller Rathgeber Property Group director Tim Coller, whose business is next to the site, is still pressing for an answer as to why earlier soil testing did not unearth the issue.

He said some pre-construction testing was too superficial, especially given there had already been some indication of soil contamination.

"It suggests the likely cost will be much less than the worst case scenario we had been planning for."

"I can't understand why a second soil test was done and didn't adequately cover the results of previous tests," he said.

Mr Martin said on Monday night he raised the issue with the project's consultants when the contamination first became apparent.

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