Alexandrina Council accepts Ombudsman's finding on Goolwa Wharf project

The Alexandrina Council has accepted a report handed down by the SA Ombudsman in relation to the Goolwa Wharf Recreational Boating Facility (Goolwa Pontoons) project which took place between 2009 and 2011.

SA Ombudsman Wayne Lines found Alexandrina Council and its former infrastructure planning and design general manager, Neville Styan, were guilty of maladministration for constructing the recreational boating facility at Goolwa Wharf without obtaining development approval or building consent.

In early 2010, Alexandrina Council commenced planning for the construction of floating pontoons at the Goolwa Wharf Precinct to widen an existing boardwalk, known as Hector’s Jetty. Due to structural faults, the pontoons associated with the facility were later removed.

According to Mr Lines, the council “has sustained significant losses as a result of the failure of the pontoons” totaling more than $600,000 spent on construction costs, as well as over $300,000 spent on legal fees relating to the development.

As part of the report Mr Lines noted events relating to the investigation occurred almost eight years ago and that “most of the key players are no longer employed at, or elected members of, the Alexandrina Council.”

Considering the circumstances Mr Lines said he does not consider it necessary to make any formal recommendation, although “clearly this matter should serve as a reminder to members and executive staff of the current council of the need to ensure compliance with the legislative requirements of the Development Act when undertaking council development projects.”

Alexandrina Council Chief Executive Officer, Glenn Rappensberg said the Council acknowledges and accepts the findings within the report and is confident measures have been implemented which will prevent a similar occurrence in the future.

“We appreciate the effort of the SA Ombudsman to provide a thorough and considered report,” he said. 

“Since commencing my role in May 2017, we have taken steps to improve the culture and practice of financial and major project administration. This has included an organisation restructure in 2018, Executive oversight of all major projects and a position on the Executive for a CPA-trained professional, responsible for providing financial advice and another level of scrutiny of major projects.”