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Shire of Harvey does backflip on Yarloop Workshops redevelopment contract due to high project costs

Headshot of Sean Van Der Wielen
Sean Van Der WielenHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Work on the Yarloop Workshops redevelopment has been paused after contractor FIRM Construction collapsed in November 2022.
Camera IconWork on the Yarloop Workshops redevelopment has been paused after contractor FIRM Construction collapsed in November 2022. Credit: Sean Van Der Wielen/Harvey-Waroona Reporter

The Shire of Harvey has done a major backflip on progressing the stalled Yarloop Workshops project after it decided a construction contract it had awarded less than a fortnight earlier was too expensive.

Work on the $5 million redevelopment has been stalled after original contractor Firm Construction called in administrators in November last year.

The council had been struggling to get work restarted with a different contractor before voting at the September 26 meeting to award Pennant Construction the new tender.

But the Shire revoked the tender at a closed-door special meeting on October 5, nine days after its initial decision.

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The decision was unanimous among the nine councillors in attendance, with the council reasoning it could be “fiscally irresponsible” to use $964,000 in unbudgeted Shire reserves to cover the project’s funding shortfall.

It was noted Alcoa had been approached by council staff about providing additional funding to the project but had not confirmed any extra contributions at the time of the meeting.

Elected members have now requested chief executive Annie Riordan work with a suitable contactor to prevent the further decay of unfinished sections of the development.

Council staff will also investigate options to reduce costs down to budgetary constraints.

Shire president Paul Gillett put a positive spin on the decision, describing the move as one which would “maintain momentum” on the project.

“The stage one redevelopment of the Yarloop Workshops Interpretation Centre is an important economic driver project for Yarloop and the Harvey region,” he said.

“It is great to be able to move this project forward again after it unfortunately stalled earlier this year when the contractor engaged by the Shire to deliver the project went into administration”.

The original workshops were destroyed in the 2016 Yarloop bushfires. They played an integral role in the town’s history, housing and maintaining steam trains as part of an extensive and complex railway system across the State in the 1900s.

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