Strelow responds to McMillan's questions over granite tender

FIRSTLY can I thank Mr McMillan for recognising the value of this project.

The Quay St redevelopment will establish a benchmark for renewal projects in regional Queensland. The use of quality surfaces like granite and sandstone are very fitting in front of our majestic sandstone Customs House. And our forebears understood the importance and value of using quality materials.

I appreciate that this matter has been made to sound confusing but I think most of the trouble stems from a few simple misunderstandings.

Firstly, there is a difference between using a local quarry and there being a local importer who can supply an imported stone.

There is one local quarry - and we held the project up a while in the hopes that he could supply the granite. I would love to have seen local granite used for the project. The owner eventually advised that he could not supply (nothing to do with colour - all about his economics, as I understand).

The team then picked a different granite. They selected a colour and style, much as someone might choose a particular brick before you choose the supplier or the builder.

We have specified the local sandstone is to be considered for the footpath areas.

There seems to be some allegation that we have breached our policy on tendering. I'm advised that we have complied with both our own policy and the Local Government Act.

It is quite normal in a tender to specify a particular product that we want used. When we are tendering for painting work on the barrage, for instance, we will specify the paint we want used. We also have an allowance in the tender documents for "approved alternatives".

We've gone to tender for someone to supply the chosen granite (or something equivalent). Hopefully there will be local suppliers who will tender.

And we then need someone to lay it too.

It seems it is normal for granite to be cut into pavers in China - even stone originally quarried in large blocks from Australia.

Our Quantity Surveyor anticipates the cost of the granite to be around $500,000 and similarly the cost of the sandstone for the footpath area to be around $500,000. These figures allow for delivery and sealing - but not laying.

Remember the all up saving if council had chosen to put a normal asphalt road and an asphalt footpath would be around $1.4million.

With such a significant project underway it is important for our local companies to secure as much work as possible. This particular tiling job may be too big for any single local firm so we have asked the Department of State Development to help facilitate consortia to lodge tenders.

I'm excited not just by this part of the project but by the complete project which involves significant work with the local creative community creating pieces of art to embellish both the lower bank and Quay St. And there have already been discussions with local indigenous groups about ways to recognise culture and art.

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