New works depot bucks trend

East Gippsland Shire has a new, state-of-the-art works depot, built to accommodate in-house works crews and associated equipment — an outstanding testimony to Council’s strategic thinking.

Following a review of the way that East Gippsland Shire Council delivered its physical services to ratepayers and visitors, Council resolved to ‘buck the trend’, moving from external contracted service providers to in-house works teams in the areas of parks and gardens, tree maintenance and waste management.

As a result of this move, and with the hiring of an additional 30 Operations staff to add to the 45 existing staff, plus the need to house machinery and equipment, Council decided to establish a new, purpose-built depot.

Council’s Chief Executive Officer, Steve Kozlowski, said that the move to in-house and place-based works teams was undertaken to improve the quality and responsiveness of the services provided to the community, as well as creating localised employment opportunities.

“As part of the process, it was also decided to combine all infrastructure management and maintenance staff of Council’s Operations Department into a single location to maximise efficiencies of service delivery across all areas of Council’s infrastructure. Therefore, the depot had to accommodate the needs of indoor and outdoor staff, as well as plant and equipment,” said Mr Kozlowski.

“This required an extensive and modern new depot, built to a sustainable, leading edge standard on a ‘greenfield’ site.”

The project was managed by Council’s Senior Works Coordinator, Mick Veldhuizen, and consisted of the use of sub-contractors for earthworks and road pavement construction, pavement asphalting, steel work, tilt slabs, plumbing, and electrical and heating/air conditioning services. Council’s in-house crews undertook the extensive concreting and carpentry works.

To ensure that the desired environmental and sustainable credentials of the project were met, the following features were included in the project:
  • harvesting of rainwater for use in toilets, gardens and the truck wash bay
  • LED lighting in the workshops
  • motion sensor lighting in the other buildings
  • only bio-diesel available at the refuelling facility
  • solar hot water to the amenities building
  • double-glazing in the office building
  • sewerage treated to Class C standard used by East Gippsland Water for irrigation of nearby pasture
  • bio-filtration of stormwater from the site and
  • three AusGeothermal heat pumps in the office building provide heating/air-conditioning and hot water.
This state-of-the-art works depot is the direct result of organisational teamwork and cooperation, reflecting the efforts of many individuals and departments within the East Gippsland Shire Council.

The project has been nominated for the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia 2013 Excellence Awards.