Mayor Strelow says, this is not granite-gate
ROCKHAMPTON Mayor Margaret Strelow has rejected claims that council didn't give local stone masons a fair go regarding the pavement of Quay St.
In fact Cr Strelow said yesterday she had "put the project on hold for two weeks" waiting for the local quarry, Central Queensland Quarries, to see if they could do the job.
But mayoral candidate Michael McMillan raised concerns in a statement released to The Morning Bulletin yesterday that "critical decisions" had been made before tenders had closed.
He also claimed Cr Strelow had "overlooked local suppliers of quality products (such as Stonehaven) and highly skilled urban design businesses, in favour of southern based operations (Stonespec)".
"It is our understanding that fully developed construction details for all areas are yet to be finalised or approved," Mr McMillan said.
"With any major project, this lack of process has a high potential for both budget and timeframe failure. Major tenders for the supply and installation of paving and the proposed underlying concrete foundations have only recently been advertised and will not close until December 23.
"Mayor Strelow has already identified the successful Brisbane-based tenderer who will source expensive granite paving from China. If indeed prior discussions regarding the tender have taken place between any councillor or employee of council, this would be a serious breach of the tender process."
Cr Strelow however has called these claims "premature".
She said council released tenders on Saturday because the local quarry had conducted tests at their site but was unable to provide the council's desired style and colour of granite.
Central Queensland Quarries confirmed yesterday that council had given them the opportunity but that they had to decline the offer.
Cr Strelow explained that an example of the desired stone they would like to use was owned by Stonespec.
"Council has selected a colour and style much as someone might choose a brick before you choose a supplier or a builder," Cr Strelow said.
"If he (McMillan) had read a little bit more of my Facebook page on the weekend he would have seen that I answered Stonehaven, assuring them that they would be very welcome to tender for providing the paver and our officers have already contacted both this supplier and another local company to make sure that they had seen the tender that went out on Saturday.
"It's important to note that there is a difference between a local quarry being able to 'quarry' the stone (we had hoped to have a stone that came out of the ground in our own region) or a local wholesaler being able to import the stone. When that wasn't possible we selected another stone and are now looking for someone who can supply it or similar.
"There is a local importer (Stonehaven) who has said he is able to supply the stone or similar but the tenders are still out. We tried desperately to get it locally and second best will be a local importer to get the job."
Stonehaven confirmed yesterday they would be submitting a tender.