WHAT’S THE FUTURE OF THE BARGARA SERVICE CENTRE?

Ross Peddlesden has posted an article regarding the future of the Bargara Service Centre on Hughes Road so it’s appropriate for me to provide my thoughts.

Following the 2008 amalgamations the new Council spent millions of dollars building new offices, relocating staff and upgrading IT services at both the Bargara and Bourbong Street Service Centres.

In more recent times Council has investigated the feasibility of relocating the Bargara operations into a more central location within the City with a view to driving efficiencies.

Whilst I understand the end goal, I have been vehemently opposed to the proposal (as recently as yesterday) for the short or intermediate term for the following reasons:

  • Systems have been put into place over several years and at considerable cost to maximise the use of modern IT technology and to ensure that various members of staff and their departments can communicate effectively between the two Centres. The need to personally attend meetings (when teleconferencing can’t suffice) at either location involves a 20 minute drive at the most.
  • Council needs to focus on its priorities and in my opinion, any decision to commit millions of ratepayer dollars to undo all that work in favour of a centralisation project, would be likely to go down like a lead balloon. It would almost certainly be regarded by the community as being a case of putting a Council ‘convenience’ ahead of the Community’s ‘need’.
  • The presence of a large workforce at Bargara provides a significant injection into the local economy and closure of the Centre would have an immediate and significant impact on many local businesses.
  • Many staff members have made family decisions including home purchases/rentals, schooling arrangements for their children, etc based on their current place of work.
  • Even if the current offices were closed, there would still remain a need for a Service Centre to be located elsewhere within Bargara to meet the needs of the largest coastal township which of course would still come at a cost.

In essence, what Ross has put forward is exactly what I’ve been advocating for a number of years and the current Council is under no misapprehension of my intention to oppose any such proposal.

There are far more immediate needs across the region.

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