W’bool City Council’s big shed shemozzle

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porter shed
All locked up with nowhere to go: the Wangoom Rd shed bought by the Warrnambool City Council that will cost up to $90,000 to relocate.

Exclusive – Carol Altmann

There is no doubt the hard-working staff within the Warrnambool City Council do many good things to keep our city ticking along, but occasionally they make financial decisions which are difficult to understand – like this shed.

Take a good close look at this shed because, if you are Warrnambool ratepayer, you now own it … and nobody else wants it.

The former premises of Daryl Porter’s cabinet making works on Wangoom Rd was sold by its new owner, developer Graeme Rodger, to the Warrnambool City Council earlier this year for a price understood to be between $40,000 and $50,000.

The sale was sealed on behalf of the council by its director of City Infrastructure, Peter Robertson, who by way of his position has the authority to make purchases up to $149,999 under the council’s procurement policy.

The idea, Bluestone has been told, was to have the shed relocated to council land in the west Warrnambool industrial estate, most likely at the council depot.

Unfortunately neither Mr Robertson or the council’s media manager will answer Bluestone’s questions about the shed, and perhaps the reason why is because it is shaping up as a major liability.

How? Because it has to be moved, and that is a very expensive exercise.

The 700m2 shed and an attached 300m2 lean-to are made of laminated timber, with a Colourbond steel roof and fully clad walls.

Bluestone has learned that the council received quotes to remove, relocate and re-assemble a shed of this type and found it would cost somewhere between $80,000 to $90,000 and this does not include the cost of a concrete slab.

So a $40,000 to $50,000 shed was now going to cost ratepayers well over $120,000.

No doubt realising that the shed was an unnecessary extravagance at a time when budgets are tight, the council recently tried to get rid of it – but nobody was interested in buying.

shed advert
A newspaper advertisement for the shed, placed just days before the auction.

The shed was a late inclusion in an on-site auction held on Tuesday March 31, where auctioneer Brian Hancock tried his best to extract even a single bid from the crowd.

Hands stayed firmly down and the shed was passed in at $20,000.

It might not be so bad if the shed could stay where it was, and perhaps the council could rent it out to the many community and sporting groups around Warrnambool who could use the storage space, but there is a final twist.

Graeme Rodger needs the shed gone to make way for his residential subdivision later this year.

Indeed the auction advertisement reflected a sense of urgency, with bold letters stating: “Set time for removal. Payment day of sale.”

Mr Rodger told Bluestone that he was not putting any pressure on the council to move the shed, but that some time “in the next few months” would be reasonable.

The council has found itself in a checkmate and the question now is whether it spends tens of thousands of dollars on moving and re-establishing the shed, or walking away and cutting its losses.

6 thoughts on “W’bool City Council’s big shed shemozzle”

  1. Seriously!!!
    Curtail the power of those council staff who have wasted our rates.
    Don’t let them increase our rates next year because this will happen again.

  2. It’s so frustrating that us ratepayers do not have a say in what the council purchases. We pay these clowns wages!

  3. There is a letter to the editor in today’s standard newspaper from Colin Ryan, Moyne Shire Mayor. Bluestone, you simply must make certain that he reads your article. If we are lucky, he may have a comment for you.

  4. you have got to be joking !! this shed is years old and to relocate would need to be totally redesigned it would need fire walls or concrete tilt up panels and the amount needing to be spent to bring bit up to 2015 standards would not make it viable , good on Daryl and Mr Rodger as business is business!! But the person that ordered this be purchased should be stood down. Since when has the WCC worked with second hand buildings, tools or vehicles?? IT’S A WASTE OF MONEY !!

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