Costs soar on tram pole work
Auckland ratepayers are forking out for top-dollar work on projects padded out with unnecessary costs, says a Hobson Community Board member.
Clinton Bowerman has been involved with the restoration of the central city’s last remaining tram pole and is embarrassed that almost $11,000 has been spent on it.
The pole, which sits on the corner of Emily St and Customs St East in the city, represents memories of the Auckland tram network which stopped operating in 1956.
He says the restoration was a small local improvement project, which came under the heritage theme for the board.
“Final costings have yet to come in but around $10,900 has been spent so far.”
He says staff put forward a proposal for bronze plaque to be placed at the site, which would cost more than $6500.
“The ratepayer is footing the bill for top-dollar work, the work takes too long and it’s my view the budgets allocated are bloated, padded with unnecessary expenditure.”
Mr Bowerman says the project has taken a long time to complete.
He says the restored pole looks good but he would like to see a more cost-effective option for the plaque. “The costs are a bit alarming.”
A freestanding sign has also been considered.
Auckland City Council city development committee chairman Aaron Bhatnagar says the pole should be complemented by a plaque beneath it to explain its signifi
“As modern signage would not be in keeping with the heritage of the tram pole, the installation of a bronze plaque was considered.”
He says as the costs for such a plaque are reasonably significant, it would have to be securely bolted down to prevent theft.
“This project will no longer be going ahead with the small local improvements fund,” he says.
Mr Bhatnagar says the council is investigating other sign options and hopes to find a solution that is cost effective and respectful of the pole’s heritage.
Motat tramway manager Colin Zeff says there are 108 tram poles along the two kilometre tramway that runs near Western Springs and Auckland Zoo.
He says Auckland’s tram system operated between 1902 and December 29, 1956.
Mr Zeff says the tramway suffered a lack of maintenance throughout the great depression and the two world wars. “To start again was far too expensive. The cheap way out was buses.”
He says there is a huge move back towards light rail, referring to the transport ideas for Auckland’s waterfront.
Historic heights: Hobson Community Board member Clinton Bowerman thinks too much ratepayer money has been spent on central Auckland’s last remaining tram pole.