Gympie council will sit for the last time this morning. (From left) Hilary Smerdon, Dan Stewart, Glen Hartwig, Bob Leitch, Mick Curran, Bob Fredman, Mal Gear, Daryl Dodt and Mark McDonald.
Gympie council will sit for the last time this morning. (From left) Hilary Smerdon, Dan Stewart, Glen Hartwig, Bob Leitch, Mick Curran, Bob Fredman, Mal Gear, Daryl Dodt and Mark McDonald.

Councillors face 2 of biggest controversies at final meeting

GYMPIE councillors will have to face two of the region’s biggest controversies one last time before this month’s election.

Outspoken councillors Glen Hartwig and Hilary Smerdon will today bring motions on the collapse of Ri-Con Contractors and the long-delayed report into the Rattler’s multimillion-dollar blowouts, putting the items up for discussion in this council’s last term.

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Ri-Con’s December collapse left subcontractors owed more than $3.6 million dollars.

Mary Valley Rattler.
Mary Valley Rattler.

Some businesses are still waiting on payment for their work on major council projects including the Kilkivan Equestrian Centre and Gympie Youth Precinct.

The council said following the collapse they had been given statuary declarations subbies had been paid for the job.

Mr Hartwig’s motion asks CEO Bernard Smith be instructed to “co-operate fully with any police investigation relating to the collapse of Ri-Con”.

The council’s report on the motion notes it is not aware of any investigation underway, and the CEO would always seek to co-operate with investigators.

Ri-Con director John Jenkins, and the Gympie Youth Hub under construction. Ri-con went into liquidation in January.
Ri-Con director John Jenkins, and the Gympie Youth Hub under construction. Ri-con went into liquidation in January.

Mr Smerdon’s motion calls for the Rattler review to be released confidentially to all councillors.

It has been almost two years since the review into the train’s $7 million budget overrun.

Work on the report was held up by an ongoing legal issue over the quality of the technical specifications for the restoration of the track and bridges.

“Once that matter is finalised the preparation of the report can recommence,” the council’s report on the motion said.

Upper Mary St.
Upper Mary St.

The report was originally earmarked to be given to the council in July 2018.

These items are joined by two other motions brought by councillors.

Deputy mayor Bob Leitch wants to allow open public space to be used commercially, and Mr Hartwig wants to allow businesses affected by council works (like the ongoing Upper Mary St work) to have their rates refunded or credited.

Several freehold lease renewals are on the agenda, too.