New dunny more than loo-se change

Central Leader - - News - By Cleo Fraser

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.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

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.

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