Have Your Say about the new-look Waverley Council Chambers building

7 April 2022

Waverley Council is undertaking a major refurbishment of the Council Chambers building in Bondi Road and is inviting the community to provide feedback about how they would like to use the improved facilities.

The circa 1913 building is at the end of its life and is being refurbished to bring it up to code and make it fit for the current and future needs of the Council and the community.

Over the years, the building has been subject to several ad-hoc alterations and additions that have resulted in major and costly layout, design, accessibility and compliance issues.

Problems have included asbestos, significant water leaks, lack of accessibility and poor sustainability and insulation.

The refurbishment will create a welcoming civic hub with community meeting spaces and a customer service function.

Waverley Mayor Paula Masselos said instead of just making repairs, Council needed to progress the Chambers refurbishment project as a priority to avoid wasting ratepayer money on any further temporary fixes, which are becoming increasingly more expensive, and to make the building better suited for community use.

“The Chambers building was fit for purpose in the beginning, but over the decades, has developed more and more problems due to random alterations, failure-prone services and band-aid fixes over the years,” Mayor Masselos said.

“We also recognise that the way we interact with our community has changed, we are more engaged now with our community than we have ever been, and the goal is to create a sustainable civic asset where we can gather with the community and share ideas.”

Five options have been considered for the building (three options for building refurbishment and two options for a full knock-down and rebuild) and the most feasible and value for money option for ratepayers is a major refurbishment including the complete removal of the pre-1960s structure.

“The bones of the building are good, and by not knocking it down, we’ll be retaining all that trapped carbon and will have a building that works better for staff and visitors and have greater street front appeal. It will also be cheaper than constructing a new building.

“We also need to continue making wise investments during this period of COVID recovery, and pouring money into a poorly designed building isn’t the way to go about it.”

The building has experienced numerous problems including asbestos, significant water leaks causing major internal damage, failed air-conditioning and poor insulation.

The Council has budgeted $17.8 million for the project of which an estimated $12 million is needed just to make the building compliant. Plans for the refurbishment began several years ago and have been budgeted for in the long-term financial plan.

“In the past four years, Waverley Council has managed its budget very carefully and is in the enviable position of having $180 million in reserves. Our prudent fiscal management means were able to achieve the Chambers refurbishment within our long-term financial plan so we don’t need to take out a loan.”

Highlights of the concept design include:

  • modern design that responds to the surrounding environment, maintains heritage features, and makes the building compliant with modern building and safety standards including removal of asbestos
  • renewable energy with new lightweight solar panels
  • extend northern façade to accommodate new lift to provide community access to the third floor Chambers for Council meetings and free-up internal floor space to accommodate more staff (saves leasing office space)
  • redesign of floor plates to improve access to natural light and ventilation
  • major roof repairs
  • replace serviceable equipment
  • no removal of existing parking

The Chambers building currently accommodates office space and meeting rooms for staff from a range of areas across Councils and is the venue for Council meetings, citizenship ceremonies, advisory committee and public working group meetings and community forums and other events.

Consultation documents, including the review of environmental factors (REF) are open for feedback until 4 May at haveyoursay.waverley.nsw.gov.au. The REF is an assessment used to determine whether an activity should be approved by taking into account all matters that affect or may affect the environment.


Media inquiries: media@waverley.nsw.gov.au or 0416 075 532.

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