The Hunter Central Coast Regional Planning Panel will meet in Taree this month to make a decision on MidCoast Council's development application for a centralised administration office in the former Masters site on Biripi Way.
Meanwhile council is pushing ahead with several aspects of the project, including preparations for the café lease and the tenders for the construction of the offices, although no decisions will be made on either prior to the planning panel's determination.
The planning panel was originally to meet earlier in February, however the date has been changed to Monday, February 24 due to the availability of panel members. The panel is an independent body that will take into account the application documents - including the statement of environmental effects, the economic impact assessment, traffic impact assessment, public submissions made during the exhibition period, as well as the relevant planning legislation and policies.
"We need to stick to our original timelines on elements of the project to ensure it is delivered on time," council's general manager, Adrian Panuccio said.
Expressions of interest are currently being called for operation of the proposed café at the site, with a closing date of March 19.
"It is important to have this component of the project in place so should council proceed with the project there is sufficient time for the successful operator to fit out the café and start operations at the same time as the office opens," Mr Panuccio said.
Likewise council issued a tender to the companies previously shortlisted for the 'head contractor for construction' on Monday, February 10.
"The shortlisted companies will have until Friday, March 6 to submit their tenders for the job.
"It is important we start this process now to allow us the appropriate time to evaluate and analyse the responses before taking a recommendation on the successful tenderer to the April 22 council meeting for a decision by the elected council."
Mr Panuccio said this was important to the overall timeline of the project and ensuring work is completed by the end of the year.
A decision to undertake the project was made by council in April 2019 following community consultation on the financing strategy for the project.
Following a tender process council has engaged Colliers International Newcastle to market the properties identified by council to be sold or leased as part of the $20 million financing strategy for the centralisation project.
The first properties to be marketed will be vacant land on Chapmans Road, Tuncurry and the two Breese Parade, Forster offices. A resolution of the elected council is required prior to the sale of any property.
Offices in Gloucester, Stroud and Tea Gardens will continue to operate as they currently are and are not impacted by the plans. Council has also made a commitment to provide a customer service point in Forster at the Civic Precinct, which is currently under construction.
The community can keep updated with the project by visiting www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/headoffice
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:
Stay ahead of local news by signing up for the Manning River Times newsletter HERE.