New dunny more than loo-se change
City officials won’t say why a public toilet block has cost ratepayers nearly $500,000, almost triple the original estimate.
The building in Pt Chevalier’s Coyle Park is several months behind schedule and still unfinished.
The Auckland City Council says the toilets cost $473,000, including $15,000 in design fees.
A Pt Chevalier builder, who did not want to be named, says the structure should have cost much less, and taken about two months to build.
Instead workers have been on site for at least six months.
The man believes a design fault which saw the block sited downhill from the sewer inlet has resulted in the addition of a sewerage pump.
“The council has really stuffed up.”
Concerns were raised about the old toilet block at the Western Bays Community Board in 2005.
Board documents show the project was originally budgeted at $172,000, including $10,000 for design and consultation.
Waterview resident Tammy Ewing, who petitioned the board for new toilets, says the budget blowout is “outrageous.” She initially thought the project would cost up to $250,000.
“Even then I wondered if they were going to put a three-bedroom house on top of it.” She says she’s happy with the time the project has taken.
Pt Chevalier mother Maxine Bannan, who regularly takes her children to the park, says she’s angry the work has taken so long.
She is also concerned at the increasing cost.
“They could have built loads of things for that kind of money, like a new playground for the kids,” she says. “It’s absolutely outrageous.”
A council spokeswoman says work was due to be finished in October but a “variety of factors” caused the delay.
It’s now expected to be finished by the new year.
But a sign on the worksite says the project was to be carried out in April and May this year.
The council says the new block is in a better position because it’s more visible, and less likely to be targeted by vandals.
The old structure had also been damaged by the roots of nearby trees.
But the council wouldn’t respond to questions on why the costs had increased, or whether the design had been altered.
“These are matters the council is discussing with the various parties involved and we can’t comment any further at this stage,” she says.
Western Bays Community chairman Bruce Kilmister, who was a board member when the original project was approved, says it should have been straightforward.
Mr Kilmister didn’t know the cost until contacted by the Central Leader this week.
He promised to look into it.
“The concern is whether ratepayers are getting the best value for money,” he says.
Toilet trouble: Maxine Bannan with three-year-old Blake, is “disgusted” that it has taken so long for the council to finish building the Coyle Park facilities.