Pai-Fang construction problems

The Pai Fang at Robe is 10m closer to the heritage slipway than initially planned, it has been revealed.

If approval for the present location is not met, the structure may have to be relocated. 

The expenses incurred by District Council of Robe relating to the installation of the Chinese welcome gate are $11,371.

The council will allocate $12,000 from the design of the Main Beach access ramp to the cover the costs of erecting the welcome gate.

At the recent Robe council meeting Cr David Loxton raised issues with the Pai Fang and council CEO Roger Sweetman explained there were difficulties in getting the excavator to reach out another 10m in an easterly direction. They also had problems digging sand out of the holes.

Cr Loxton asked: “When they realised they couldn't go deep enough why didn't they cut the bottoms of the poles off? 

Mr Sweetman replied: “Well they did eventually go deep enough apart from the 0.9 metres, so the architect, looking at the engineers notes believed the 0.9 metres was not significant.”

Mayor Peter Riseley said: “It was engineering advice Tim Rogers received about how deep the holes had to be into the sea bed. They had to be 4m deep, if you had chopped 900mm off the post we would have lost the calligraphy, that would be under the water.”

After some discussion about the height of the Pai Fang, Cr Lawrence Polomka said: “I’m more concerned abut the cost of the erection, most expensive one I’ve ever seen.”

Cr Loxton asked: “Could we get it any more wrong?”

Cr Loxton said: “It is proposed that council make a budget allocation for $12,000 from the beach access to cover the costs, we just had someone talking up here who is a very valued member of the community about this sort of thing going on and that is what happens presumably we needed that money for a wall and access to the beach.

“What the hell are we just moving money around for, we are down 12 grand?”

The CEO said: “No, we budgeted $35,000 to have the beach access ramps designed and it cost us $13,000 so there is a saving in the budget and we will reallocate it to to other projects.

“When council allocated money in the 2016/17 budget for the design of the beach access ramps it didn't know what they would cost so we put a figure in and now we have a quote.”

The costs of the construction and erection of the Chinese Welcome Gate are: 

Calligraphy $3000, Materials (timber etc.) $ 5339, Erection – SE Excavations $ 9531 , Crane Hire $3840, Total $21,710 

Revenue: Rural City of Ararat $5000, Payment for materials (timber etc) $5339, Total $10,339, Net cost $11,371 

When the gate was installed, construction problems occurred which prevented the gate being erected in accordance with the approved plans. 

At the time of installation a decision had to be made on the location of the gate, on the understanding that applications would have to be made to amend the planning approval granted. 

The gate is 0.9m higher than originally proposed and is located 10m closer to the heritage slipway than originally proposed. 

The application for to allow the welcome gate to be 0.9m higher than initially planned has been approved under the delegated authority with the concurrence of the State Heritage Branch as it is considered to be a minor variation. 

The application for a variation to allow for the structure to be 10m closer to the heritage slip way is not considered a minor variation. 

This application for variation is considered to be a category three development and will be required to be advertised seeking comments from the adjacent landowners, state government agencies and the community. 

The application will along with all the comments received both written and verbal be considered by the Councils Development Assessment Panel and either be approved or refused. 

If the application is refused the structure will be required to be relocated. 

Click here to see the Pai Fang being erected