Council outpost to remain at Visitor Information Centre until November

Jess Shearer and Shayle Graham are the friendly faces of council's customer service, temporarily located in the Visitor Information Centre.
Jess Shearer and Shayle Graham are the friendly faces of council's customer service, temporarily located in the Visitor Information Centre.

It took a bit of getting used to but council's temporary customer service arrangements at the Visitor Information Centre are working well, chief executive Terry Dodds said.

In fact they come as somewhat of a relief after initial COVID-19 directives forced a total shutdown of face-to-face customer service. Also they coincide with building works at council's Administration Building in Bruxner Park, which remains closed to the public as the work progresses.

The works involve changes to the building to accommodate the new Emergency Control Centre at the front, and the relocation of some internal walls at the rear, repairs to the roof, and replacement of windows and electrical wiring.

An inspection of the building revealed some structural integrity issues which are also being addressed while the opportunity presents itself.

Mr Dodds said the 55-year-old building had received little attention over the years and, in some cases, the roof's supporting universal beams was precarious at best.

"We discovered there was 1.5 bricks holding up one corner of the plant room, on the roof, and that the universal beams had shifted due to the end plate bolts being sheared.

"Further, it was discovered there was a complete lack of diagonal bracing in the northern wall, which meant that the window frames were acting as structural members.

"It was quite disconcerting to discover on one hand, but a relief on the other."

He said the building was designed for an era prior to the golf ball typewriter being invented. Office practices, particularly computing, has evolved to the point where the electricity load was very high in some areas of the building, so wiring issues are being corrected as well.

"We plan that the building will now last another 55 years," Mr Dodds said.

He's hoping to reopen the administration building to the public at the end of November.

In the meantime, while there have been a few 'gripes' about the customer service outpost, Mr Dodds said people are becoming accustomed to the interim arrangements.

The Customer Service Desk at the Visitor Information Centre operates from 9am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday. Other council staff can be reached by calling (02) 6736 6000.

Mr Dodds said he appreciated everyone's cooperation in what are trying times for all.

"The Coronavirus is a situation no-one could have anticipated, but we're observing all the requirements being imposed by NSW Health and WorkSafe and I thank the public for their cooperation."