Blue Mountains City Council has rejected all tender applications for accessible improvements to Wentworth Falls Lake, but has shifted an additional $2.2 million into the project's budget and out of the lake's dam upgrade budget.
The matter was finalised at the October 31 council meeting. The council moved to decline all tender offers and to enter into single negotiation with the preferred tenderer, Arenco (NSW) Pty Ltd.
The Wentworth Falls Lake improvements project has plans for a new accessible pedestrian bridge and viewing platform, with a previous budget of $1.3 million - now raised to $3.5 million.
Accordingly, the budget for the Wentworth Falls Lake dam upgrade was reduced from a total of $4 million to $2 million, with the remaining $200,000 sourced from another stage of the Lake's projects.
Council said the preferred tender met technical requirements but had asked for "significantly" more than the allocated budget. The council renegotiated a new budget this month of just under $3.2 million.
The council report said the bridge and viewing platform "provide a critical connection between the dam to the north side of the lake, increasing accessibility and inclusivity".
Council completed the design and exhibited the project publicly. The community feedback rejected a heavy steel look which was later softened. The bridge was initially expected to be built by June 2023.
Cr Romola Hollywood said there was a huge program of works planned for the lake to "improve the safety of the dam wall and to allow much better accessibility".
More grant funding had meant the long-awaited 5km lake loop walk would become a reality with proper wayfinding signage and safe walk access near roads on the current lake walk. A lake advisory group would ensure the project's smooth roll-out, she said.
The project has been made possible by funding - including $8.5 million from the NSW Government's WestInvest Program and funds through the Western Parkland City Livability Program and a Preparing Australian Communities Local Stream Grant.
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