Central Coast Council staff based at the Gosford Chambers have been put on notice that their jobs are to be relocated to Wyong or the Erina depot, but with details surrounding the possible sale of the Gosford building still sketchy and an end to COVID-19 restrictions uncertain, any move before early next year is unlikely.
The building was identified for sale in Tranche 1 of Council’s asset sales program, but Council has so far released no details of any sale, saying only that asset sale updates will be provided to the community “at suitable milestones”.
“Asset sales will take an extended period to reach a point when public information can be disclosed, with updates able to be released when sale contracts settle, not during any negotiations or after exchange,” a Council spokesperson said.
Even so, staff with a primary work location of Gosford in their contract received an email last month advising they would be relocated.
Council has been in discussions with the United Services Union (USU), the Local Government Engineers Association (LGEA) and the Development and Environmental Professionals’ Association (DEPA) over details of the relocation.
USU organiser, Luke Hutchinson, said there was much to be discussed.
“Obviously there are a lot of members who are going to be impacted by any move to Wyong- especially those living to the south of Gosford,” he said.
“There are lots of issues we need to look.
“Members have a lot of considerations with travelling the extra distance, including impacts on childcare arrangements.
“We also need to look at how the move might affect traffic management and parking in Wyong in the interests not just of members but of the public.
“We want to try to avoid bottlenecks at the beginning and end of each day.”
Hutchinson said there were many employees who are not necessarily tied to a desk and options other than a relocation to Wyong were being considered.
“We can’t see any forced movements before early next year with many members currently working from home due to COVID,” he said.
“Even early next year we will have to see how the COVID situation is.”
A Council spokesperson said the Gosford building would need to be vacated upon sale and plans were being made for that now so the impact on staff can be mitigated as far as is practicably possible and the impact on the community is minimal.
“We have been working closely with the Union and team managers to identify possible alternate workplace locations for impacted staff and are now consulting directly with impacted staff to understand their individual circumstances and how this will impact them ahead of a physical return to the workplace, when that time comes,” the spokesperson said.
“We will continue to work directly with staff and the Union throughout the consultation process to keep them updated.”
Meanwhile, plans continue to progress with the Gosford Regional Library, which will have a Customer Service Centre, bookable meeting rooms and an innovation hub for the community, businesses and staff with demolition expected to commence early next year, and construction in April, the spokesperson said.
Until then, community members will still be able to access customer service support through Erina or Woy Woy Libraries (when reopened), or any time via the Online Customer Service Centre.
“Council is also looking at other potential spaces close to the current Council building for an interim Customer Service Centre for the community,” the spokesperson said.