Depot delight: Working on a new WRC depot

Wakefield Regional Council will finally get a new works depot in Balaklava – saving about half of the $3.5 million price tag originally proposed.

Instead of a ‘greenfield’ site, which would have required a new build of all sheds, offices and other depot infrastructure, WRC has purchased 31 Gwy Terrace – formerly SA Complete Diesel Services – and two adjoining allotments which will allow council to ‘move straight in’ after settlement.

Council recently purchased two of the three blocks identified through an Expression of Interest process, determining them suitable for council’s needs.

It includes a large shed, office, truck washing canopy and appropriate space and facilities to ensure council operations can be carried out safely and efficiently.

The new depot will replace the existing site on the corner of Phillips Street and Railway Terrace, which does not meet several work, health and safety standards.

At its November meeting, council endorsed a two-stage approach to the new depot.

The first phase was the acquisition, levelling and laying of rubble for the two adjoining lots and a perimeter fence with staff to move in during the early stages of 2021.

The second phase will be rolled out later next year, which will involve working with staff to plan and implement the layout of stores, plant and equipment and any additional storage that may be required.

Settlement is scheduled to take place in early to mid-January with the earthworks to start soon after and perimeter fence to follow the earthworks.

Mayor Rodney Reid said it was expected staff would be operating out of the depot by late January or early February and the transition of council’s fuel bays, fixed plant and other equipment will take place once the depot is established.

“The overall project cost is likely to be about $1.7m, substantially less than our original plans for a purpose-built depot by the racecourse,” he said.

“Council members had been concerned the vacant allotment near the racecourse (Lot 102 Gwy Terrace) was not the most appropriate site for the depot and wanted other options to be explored before a final decision was made.

“An Expressions of Interest (EOI) process was undertaken through the Plains Producer and local real estate agents to identify alternative sites.

“The relocation of the works depot from Railway Terrace has been on the cards for many years as the old site was too small, sheds were unsuitable and the site did not meet all of the safety and environmental requirements demanded of a modern work site.”

Mr Reid said while the building structures at 31 Gwy Terrace were well suited for the depot, the land area was too small and unable to accommodate council’s plant and equipment or provide a suitable area for stock products such as road and landscape materials.

The neighbouring property, Lots 83 and 84 Gwy Terrace, will accommodate council’s needs with enough available space for additional sheds, equipment or materials.

Council will, at a later stage, consider future uses for Lot 102 Gwy Terrace, the existing depot site and the laydown area off Honeysuckle Drive.