TUESDAY’S decision on the Robertson Park toilets may have been hailed as decisive action, but the Orange CWA branch has warned there is still a long way to go.
Councillors debated three options for the toilets – a $500,000 option including a rebuilt kitchen and meeting room for the CWA Hall, disabled access and extra toilets, a $270,250 option including renovations to the existing building and extra toilets, and an uncosted option for a separate toilet block.
The CWA owns the hall, but the land is Crown land and cannot be sold.
But despite warnings from the CWA branch it was running out of patience, councillors chose the only option requiring further negotiations with the branch, the $270,000 option.
The $500,000 option has already been approved by the CWA’s head office, while the separate toilet block would not involve the CWA at all.
Councillor Glenn Taylor proposed the separate building for the northeastern corner of the park with a capped budget of $200,000, but he withdrew it when it became clear his colleagues would not support it.
Councillor Russell Turner said option two was best because it provided toilets and some upgrades for the CWA Hall.
“If we get it through tonight, we can get on with it and have it complete,” he said.
Orange CWA branch secretary Deborah Marr said the debate was “confused, ill informed and disappointing ultimately”.
“We said we don’t want to renegotiate and get another two years’ runaround,” she said.
“According to council, there will be another development application and has to go through the process again.”
Despite previously indicating further negotiations would have to go through the CWA’s head office, Ms Marr said it would not be necessary, for now.
“We would only push them to head office as a last resort,” she said.
“They’re going to have to give us a really tight proposal and have to be sure of their budget before we will be taking it any further.”
However, she was still sceptical the project would happen after the cost of option one blew out.
Cr Taylor said he would believe the progress when he saw it.
“They’re all patting themselves on the back, but more than likely they haven’t [solved it],” he said.
A report to councillors indicated it would be July before a development application for option two could be assessed.
Quotes would be sought in August and construction was due to begin in September, with the site operational by January.