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Inquiry into $30m Plus Sewer “Catastrophe” Launched

Nov 30, 2023

Ratepayers and residents had a win in council when it voted Tuesday night for an independent inquiry into the 2022-2023 Windsor sewer repair that saw a $32.5 million loan taken out that could cost up to $50 million to repay.

Labor Councillors Barry Calvert and Amanda Kotlash were the only two in the chamber to vote against the commission of an independent inquiry into the debacle that saw the cost of repair blow out from $2.7 million to over $30 million in the  space of 12 months. Their position appears, once again, to be at odds with the State Labor government which has a focus on local government waste

Neither Labor councillor responded to requests for comment by the Hawkesbury Post.

The inquiry is a big win for Councillor Eddie Dogramaci who brought the motion last night and has battled for years to uncover why the costs blew out so badly and who was paid what, for what. He received strong backing from independent councillors who have often been stymied by the Liberal/Labor bloc that, together with independent Les Sheather, controls the council.

“My contention is that this is an unprecedented and catastrophic financial event and should be independently audited as a matter of course – there are always learnings and the public perception of Council having integrity with public funds is paramount,” Cr Nathan Zamprogno told HCC.

Councillor Eddie Dogramaci has long complained about Council waste and mismanagement.

The probe will bring council management, especially Infrastructure Director Will Barton who presided over the debacle as – as well as General Manager Elizabeth Richardson under the spotlight. Barton also presided over the failed drain remediation at Cornwallis Road that festered for years, cost millions of dollars and which has permanently altered the riverfront at Richmond Lowlands.

The inquiry is also likely to shed more light on the bungled contract that led to alleged overcharging of HCC by The Civil Experts (trading as TCE), a contractor on the repair project. The disputed $4.9 million contract led to an expensive court battle lost by HCC. A spokesman for HCC said it was too early to say how long the inquiry would last.

Councillor Dogramaci also had another win in getting documents released concerning the lengthy and expensive repairs to Hawkesbury Valley Way, although much of it was funded by the state government.

 “It is another win for the ratepayers to see why the delay and who is wasting our money, “Cr Dogramaci said.

 

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