Somerset Dam is set to become the subject of a multimillion-dollar upgrade.
Somerset Dam is set to become the subject of a multimillion-dollar upgrade.

Six projects to improve Somerset region

NEW information has surfaced surrounding the planned safety upgrade to Somerset Dam, prompting the council to renew its requests for legacy projects.

The Somerset Dam Safety Upgrade aims to heighten the dam's engineering standards, and improve its ability to withstand extreme floods and earthquakes.

Since the upgrade was announced, Somerset Regional Council has been pushing for Seqwater to fund "legacy projects" to compensate the community for the cost and inconvenience of the lengthy works.

Correspondence between Seqwater has revealed the upgrade could involve up to four years of work, with the Somerset Dam Village to feel the brunt of the impacts.

The council has set its sights on six legacy projects to offset the effect on the community, which Seqwater has repeatedly dismissed. The most recent submission was made in November.

"Council is very concerned about the community impact of the safety upgrade which is likely to impact Somerset Dam village more than any other location," the council's chief executive officer Andrew Johnson said.

"Council would like Seqwater to fund several projects that are for the betterment of the township and will serve the community and visitors long into the future."

The legacy projects the council is asking Seqwater to fund include the following:

  • Coronation Hall carpark formalisation - $250,000
  • Kerb and channel, drainage and bitumen infill sealing, King St and Albert St and George St near Plumb Park - $350,000
  • Footpath from Coronation Hall to General Store/playground - $300,000
  • New shelter, picnic table and electric barbecue at Plumb Park - $40,000
  • Tennis court resurfacing - $20,000
  • Somerset Dam lookout formalisation - $80,000

The total cost of the suggested legacy projects is $1,040,000, which council believes is a small price to pay compared to the years of inconvenience the community will endure.

Mr Johnson said Seqwater had advised it was looking at legacy projects to be identified so it could integrate them into their business case.

Seqwater representatives also said the council's proposed projects had been dismissed by the project's Community Reference Group as not being priorities.

The council once again resolved to resubmit its chosen projects for consideration "notwithstanding the views of the unelected community reference group that State agencies have assembled for this project."

"There is no doubt the impacts on the community from this construction project is going to be significant," Mr Johnson said.

"Adequate compensation that will support the community for generations to come is essential."

The council also wrote to Seqwater in November requesting that Seqwater ensures it provides opportunities for sole operators and small to medium-sized enterprises from the Somerset region to participate competitively in the project.

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