APRIL, 2013

Council identifies need to expand and upgrade the Administration Centre, Eaton as the current building does not comply with current Australian standards and Building Codes. Any expansion will trigger a requirement to upgrade the whole building to comply with these standards, particularly the roof.


Eaton Main Street Project report adopted by Council which includes plan to move Eaton Community Library to current site of Shire Administration Centre (Lot 500 Council Drive) with both facilities to be housed in the one building, achieved by upgrading and expanding the existing Shire Administration Building and adding on a library.

Funds identified at the time as available for the project was $6.5 million.

Concept 1

MARCH, 2017

Cost estimates confirm Concept 1 for a new single-storey co-located Library and Administration Centre on the existing site will cost $13.9 million. (3,159sq m) Council therefore agrees to consider offer tabled by Eaton Fair owners Citygate Properties to purchase land currently occupied by the Shire’s Administration Centre, Eaton for $5 million in addition to provision of a 3,000sq m land parcel within the shopping precinct for a new Library & Administration.

Concept 2


Council enters Heads of Agreement with Citygate Properties, facilitating land swap arrangement (subject to Ministerial Approval later achieved in October, 2020) and adopts Concept 2 design for new 3-storey building with estimated cost of $18.25 million and providing 6,669sq m of floor space.

Concept 3


Perkins Builders and Peter Hobbs Architects & Advanced Timber Studios appointed via Early Contractor Involvement contract for design and construct of Concept 3 (2 storey), recognising significant savings could be achieved compared to previous 3 storey concepts.

MAY, 2022

80% design costings presented to Council and are over budget due to significant economic pressures including disrupted timber supplies and increased demand from an over-stimulated construction industry. Working group appointed to explore options for keeping costs down.

JULY, 2022

Extensive negotiations with contractor Perkins Builders identifies opportunities for costs savings to keep the new Library, Administration and Community Centre within the project budget first identified back in 2018. Council agrees at a Special Meeting to commence with the project.


Why do we need a new building?

  1. Agreement with Education Department for co-location Eaton Community Library with Eaton Community College ended, requiring new library premises.
  2. Current Shire of Dardanup Administration Centre does not comply with modern-day building standards. Various options to upgrade or expand resulted in greater forecast expense than this proposal to construct a new purpose-built building in the longer term.
  3. Providing services from various alternative locations was identified as costly, inefficient and only workable in the short-term.
  4. Engagement with the community over time along with potential user groups of the new building identified the need for additional community facilities and flexible use spaces..


Wouldn’t it be better and much cheaper to just upgrade the existing building instead of a new two-storey construction across the road?

Actually, no. Original budget allocated to provide a new co-located Library and Administration Centre at the current location 8 years ago in 2014 was $6.5 million. However once the idea was progressed to detailed designs, it became clear the budget required would be a minimum of $13.9 million (excluding external costs such as site services), mostly due to the existing building not meeting current-day building standards.

It was therefore an exciting, alternative opportunity when Citygate came forward in 2017 with an offer to purchase the Shire’s existing site for $5 million plus providing more than 3,000sqm of land within its shopping precinct for the Shire’s new building. This would not only help fund the new building but achieve a quality of building far in excess of what was originally planned, that could future-proof the organisation from further expansions for the next 20 years – and for a similar-sized investment. Additionally this transaction would also allow additional rates income from the expanded shopping centre.

The resulting two-storey Concept 3 design to be located on the north-east corner of Eaton Fair will cost $16.25 million with a total project cost of $18.6 million.

In addition, as demonstrated through an independently-prepared business case for the new concept, the additional cost for the building will be offset by expected new rates revenue from the existing site once it is occupied by Citygate and lease of commercial space within the proposed new Shire building – an opportunity that would not have been available if Council elected to re-build on its existing site.


Why was money spent on design work that is now not being used?

In order to ensure Council can make fully-informed decisions with detailed costings available, it has been necessary over time and at each stage of project life cycle to invest in professional services such as architects.

The approach followed in 2016 was to design the building according to the Shire’s needs at the time. Cost estimates for the design were more than anticipated. The reality of escalation in the construction market, meant that Council needed to consider alternatives which lead to a different design as explained above.


Why has Council decided on a timber construction?

One of the best ways to address climate change is to use more wood, not less. Wood is simply the most abundant, biodegradable and renewable material on the planet.” – Patrick Moore Ph.D, chairman and chief scientist of Greenspirit Strategies Ltd and co-founder and former director of Greenpeace.

In addition, the Shire of Dardanup has rich heritage associated with the timber industry, beginning in the early 1900s at Wellington Mills. We also have key timber industries forming part of our economic base and the leadership Council is showing is helps drive increased economic opportunities for the timber construction industry.


How will this new building benefit the community?

Of particular significance for the community will be the new region-leading and highly contemporary Eaton Community Library located and accessible right in the heart of the Shire’s urban centre. Equipped with a myriad of inviting community spaces to gather in groups or work alone, an array of modern technology, a Makerspace and coffee bar, we are confident its opening will be highly anticipated and celebrated by the community.


Why was the decision made behind closed doors?

Decisions like these are taken behind closed doors, not to lock the community out, but to protect information that is commercially sensitive. In this case, detailed costings provided by our contractors are deemed commercially sensitive until a final settlement on price is achieved. Once this occurs, Council is able and required to share the information publicly and discuss with its community.

Matters behind closed doors are permitted in certain specified circumstances under the Local Government Act 1995, S 5.23.


Why wasn’t the community consulted on such a big project?

The community was engaged during the initial stages particularly around the land use planning, the relevant land transaction business case and also more directly in Council endorsed long term planning including Corporate Business Plans, 2050 Vision and community facility plans.

In 2019, Council adopted a new Community Engagement Policy which saw establishment of 8 Place-based and topic-based advisory groups. Consultation with the community over the past two years both through these advisory groups and various targeted consultations including a Community Satisfaction Survey, 2050 Vision, Council Plan and Connect Dardanup online consultations have been extensive.

A recurring theme throughout all of these consultations has been a desire for more community spaces to help people feel more connected.

Specific recent consultation regarding the new Library, Administration and Community Building (in addition to presentations to Place-based Advisory Group meetings) included the following:

  1. May, 2020 – Land transaction proposal plus full business case advertised for period of public submission via Shire website, email newsletter and public notice published in the South Western Times and West Australian newspapers. The website post was viewed by 271 people who spent an average of 5:21 minutes on the page compared to average page views of 1:22 minutes. Three written submissions were received in response and two via Council Meeting Public Question Time. These were considered and addressed by Council during its meeting 29 July, 2020.
  2. July, 2020: Eaton Millbridge Community Facilities Plan consultations.
  3. March, 2021: Dedicated consultation involving stakeholder meetings and an open forum discussion held at the Eaton Football Pavilion with potential community group users of the new facility.
  4. Shire Corporate Business Plan – Adopted in 2018/19 – included specific reference to the new Library & Administration Building with Makerspace facility.