Let the true costs be known

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Community facilities that are durable come with a large price tag according to Penrith Council.

In response to public perception that Council owned community facilities are excessively priced to build, Council is in the process of developing resources to show the true cost of those ‘simple’ toilet blocks, canteens and amenities.

A report to Councillors last week explained that “perceived excessive costs” are generated by necessary design elements such as extended durability to cope with misuse and vandalism.

“Public perception of excessive cost is understandable when comparing to domestic brick veneer construction benchmarks, however a true comparison must take into account the impact of vandal proof designs and construction methods which must be applied due to facility location, and lack of overnight occupancy which make a community facility/Council building much more vulnerable to concerted vandal attack than is allowed for in domestic construction,” said Design and Projects Manager, Michael Jackson.

“The interior of a Council building is also not expected to be treated as politely as one would expect a domestic house to be treated. Plasterboard on timber studwork is easily kicked and punched through, quickly destroying interior walls. Council toilet pans and sinks unfortunately have to withstand people jumping on and kicking at them so the cost of suitably resilient fixtures is much higher than you would use in your home.”

Cr Mark Davies, who originally raised the issue of overpricing said the report was very informative.

“I learnt a lot about the cost of these community facilities from this report and it would be great to see an online pamphlet developed to inform community groups,” he said.

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