$105m capital works spend helps Lake Mac tackle COVID-19 impacts
Lake Macquarie City Council spent more than $100 million on capital works in the past financial year, despite ongoing challenges and impacts due to COVID-19.
The spending included the fast-tracking of more than 40 community infrastructure projects to help generate local jobs during the pandemic.
Lake Macquarie Mayor Cr Kay Fraser said annual financial reporting tabled at Monday night’s Council meeting reflected a positive outcome for the city.
“Council has an important role to play to keep the economy moving, support our community and keep people in jobs,” Cr Fraser said.
“This has been a challenging 12 months in so many ways, but we have adapted quickly to ensure continued productivity, investment and community wellbeing.”
The fast-tracked projects, which ranged from playground replacements to new shared pathways, were identified in consultation with the Hunter chapters of the Property Council of Australia and the Urban Development Institute of Australia.
Tight budget management and regular budget reviews contributed to a better-than-expected $2.3 million surplus for the 2020-21 financial year.
Council CEO Morven Cameron congratulated Council’s workforce for delivering the $105 million in capital works, which included the commencement of works for the Fernleigh Awabakal Shared Track, installation of new bus shelters at various sites across the city and construction of the new Multi Arts Pavilion (MAP mima) at Speers Point Park.
“Like so many people in our community, our crews have been operating under challenging conditions, often with adjustments to their normal workdays to ensure safety and compliance with health guidelines,” Ms Cameron said.
“Despite this, we’ve delivered a strong result for the city, and continued to make a significant contribution to our community and the city’s economy.”
Ninety per cent of 330-plus actions identified at the start of the financial year were completed in 2020-21.
Of the 10 per cent not achieved, one-fifth were as a result of COVID-19.
“In some cases, projects have taken longer than expected because of equipment delivery delays or the unavailability of contractors due to COVID-19 restrictions,” Ms Cameron said.
“Other actions set targets for participation in Council programs, or attendance at our facilities, and again the ongoing effects of COVID-19 meant some of these could not be achieved.”
“Overall, however, although pleased with the result, we are determined to continue to focus on strategic spending and financially responsible operations in the years ahead.”