Council wants to spend more money on consultants, project completion is delayed again

In October, the council decided to hire an independent consultant, PwC, to review the project. In April, a summary of PwC’s confidential report by the council said that outsourcing of project management services is not recommended “due to the key risks already identified and the relatively mature timing of project delivery, as important project management decisions have been made”.

Councilor and former North Sydney Mayor Jilly Gibson said:

Councilor and former North Sydney Mayor Jilly Gibson said: “I think our residents are a little tired of all this money being passed off to advisers.”Credit: Edwina Pickles

“The review found that the current project team had significant knowledge and skills related to the project to complete the work,” the council’s summary said.

Baker said things have changed since then, as other recommendations from PwC – including a peer review of the design documentation – have been incorporated into the new recommendation to hire outside consultants.

However, Councilwoman and former North Sydney Mayor Jilly Gibson said she was unlikely to vote to hire outside project managers. “How many advisors do we need?” Gibson said. “For heaven’s sake, it’s one advisor at a time. I think our residents are a bit fed up with so much money being passed on to advisors.”

City councilors received an update on the project on Monday. MaryAnn Beregi, a critic of the previous government’s efforts on the pool project, said the appointment of an outside project manager was fully warranted.

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“Most ratepayers would say it’s an absolute farce to say the council could manage it internally,” Beregi said. “If that’s what it’s going to cost, that’s what it’s going to cost, but it’s going to come back in abundance.”

Deputy Mayor Godfrey Santer said he has not yet decided whether to support hiring more consultants, noting that the pool is at an advanced stage after various delays.

“COVID was a factor, the weather was a factor, but human error was a factor too,” Santer said. “I want a pool that will become a symbol of Sydney. We are talking about a Sydney Opera House style facility and we need to get it right.”

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Justin Scaccy

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