$6m hub scrapped

The site of the partially built Youth Hub. Picture: ON FILE

By Corey Everitt

The $6 million Cardinia Youth Hub has been scrapped, council has revealed, after alleging that it discovered ‘serious structural issues’ to the partially built hub that have rendered the site a demolition job.

The Youth Hub, a state-of-the-art facility proposed as the new home of local youth services, has faced a troubled construction.

Starting in early 2022, its initial completion date was December 2022. As the build faced delays from poor weather and then from the collapse of the contracted builder, Allmore Constructions, the site has sat partially finished, with the completion date extended to mid-next year.

Now, there is no completion date at all.

Cardinia Shire Council, prior to tendering another builder, hired experts to conduct an independent investigation of the existing site.

The investigation came back with the news that there were severe issues with the structural integrity of the site that made the building dangerous.

In correspondence, the Gazette has been told that the footing of the building had been ‘undersized’ to compromise the whole site and for the works to continue the existing structure would have to be demolished and started from the beginning.

The council has expressed that there are no plans for a new build and plans are still being discussed on the future of the land on 43 James Street.

Contact has been made with My Place and the various other services who were meant to move into the Youth Hub, who will now stay indefinitely in their facility on Main Street.

The council is reportedly pursuing legal advice around those who designed the building and any potential responsibility they may have for the alleged structural flaw.

Mayor Kowarzik said the report from the investigation was a ‘shocking blow’.

“This is a major disappointment and on behalf of the community I’m really angry that the community has been left with an unsafe and defective partly constructed building,’’ Mayor Kowarzik said.

“Council has sought urgent legal advice on what action, if any, might be warranted against those responsible for the design and construction.

“The identification of structural defects was a shocking blow, as we expected to soon start the process to appoint a new builder to finish this priority project.

“This is bitterly disappointing for council – and like many others – we have been burnt by a builder collapsing mid-project. We will do everything within our power to put this right.”

The building was jointly funded. Cardinia Shire Council committed $1.8 million towards the project, in addition to the State Government’s $3 million commitment from the Growing Suburbs Fund and $1.5 million from the Federal Government as part of the Community Health and Hospitals Program.

The council’s CEO Carol Jeffs said discussions with all involved had begun, from what will happen to government contributions to the next steps in supporting Cardinia’s youth services.

“We have already started discussions with key stakeholders, including governments and youth services to determine crucial next steps in this project. We will do whatever we can to ensure young people in Cardinia continue to have access to high quality and accessible services locally.’’

The architect who designed the Youth Hub was contacted for comment.