Work on the Rex project was to have resumed in January but as yet there has been no progress.

The contracted builder was notified in January to recommence works on the Rex. Instead, on February 9, the builder notified Council that the condition of the site is materially different to their inspection during the tender period due to “incomplete and defective base building conditions”.

In responding to public questions during the Council meeting, Mayor, Cr Lesley Hewitt, disputed the claim saying that the view of Council was that the condition of the building was not materially different to that at the time of tender inspection.

Cr Hewitt stated in the meeting that “Council acknowledges that there is great interest in this project and there is a shared desire for the project to be progressed without delay. We are being completely transparent in the report on progress.” However, in addressing questions from the public, she added that “while complex negotiations are ongoing, we are not able to provide complete answers to some questions.”

Bruce Lucas, Director of Infrastructure and Development Services, stated in the meeting that Council is engaging “if not by-the-hour, at least by-the-day in negotiations with the builder in order to resolve the dispute.”

Council has briefed their lawyers about the dispute and are receiving advice from them in relation to penalty clauses and other provisions of the contract.

Mr Lucas advised Council that the practical date of completion would likely be mid-August rather than mid-June given that works have not yet commenced. Council has granted the builder a 9-day extension of time but this would take the contracted date of completion only to the end of June.

Given that works have not yet commenced and there is no indication of an imminent resolution of the dispute, the practical date for completion could extend well beyond mid-August.