Questions over gallery blowout
The Auckland City Council says it has yet to find a way of covering cost overruns of $2 million to $2.5m for the Auckland Art Gallery redevelopment.
The additional costs, resulting from lengthy Environment Court proceedings, were revealed at a council finance and strategy committee meeting last week.
Since the first resource consent for the redevelopment was granted in September 2006, appeals by three individuals have resulted in court costs of up to $700,000 as well as related costs.
A six-month delay in the start of construction has meant extra costs of more than $300,000 from contractors Hawkins.
An independent heritage adviser based in Sydney requested by the Environment Court has cost up to $100,000 in fees and $50,000 in consultant fees resulting from her decisions.
In addition, a landscape plan review by an Environment Court expert caucus has cost $300,000 to $500,000.
Committee chairman Doug Armstrong says it’s appalling that the actions of three individuals could cost ratepayers millions.
“It’s not as if we’re property developers trying to rip anyone off.”
He says the first step will be to try to cut costs and find savings within the project, but that might only save up to $500,000.
Currently the council is contributing $48m to the $113m project, with $30m coming from central government and the balance of $33m to be raised by private donors.
Mr Armstrong says it would be unfair to expect donors to cover the extra costs.
“It will probably need to come from increased borrowing at the end of the day.”