Cy­cle­way costs soar

Central Leader - - News - By Rhi­an­non Hor­rell

A BUD­GET blowout cost­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars for the com­ple­tion of a cy­cle­way along­side the new State High­way 20 ex­ten­sion has left com­mu­nity mem­bers won­der­ing how the cost can be jus­ti­fied.

Mt Roskill Com­mu­nity Board chair­man Richard Barter be­lieves that part of the blowout stems from the cost of a toi­let block, which he be­lieves would cost $280,000.

Coun­cil­lor John Lis­ter says he un­der­stands that about $500,000 was needed for spe­cial blue­stone walls, about $50,000 for a bar­be­cue and an­other sig­nif­i­cant cost for veg­e­ta­tion.

Mr Barter says the path it­self would only cost $300,000.

“It’s ridicu­lous, most of the money is pa­per­work.”

Only a small stretch of the cy­cle­way be­tween Do­min­ion Rd and May Rd, run­ning through Win­stone Park, is still to be com­pleted.

The Auck­land City Coun­cil is re­vis­it­ing the project af­ter is­sues arose over fund­ing the 360 me­tre-long path.

The coun­cil says the es­ti­mate of the fi­nal de­sign came in at $2 mil­lion, af­ter ini­tial cost­ings in 2006 put the fig­ure at $1.2m.

It says ad­di­tional works worth $900,000 in­cluded fenc­ing and a gate, stone work, plant­ing, land­scap­ing and a Maori carv­ing among other things.

“It blew the cost out of the wa­ter,” says Mr Barter.

Trans­port com­mit­tee chair­man Ken Bag­u­ley says the coun­cil was not sat­is­fied the ini­tial de­sign and costs pro­vided value for money.

“Coun­cil of­fi­cers are re­vis­it­ing the project to find a more cost-ef­fec­tive so­lu­tion,” he says.

“A num­ber of as­pects of the de­sign fea­tured custom-built so­lu­tions as op­posed to more read­ily avail­able prod­ucts and ma­te­ri­als. This pushed the cost up con­sid­er­ably.

“In re­vis­it­ing the de­sign, the coun­cil will bal­ance the needs of lo­cal stake­hold­ers with the re­quire­ment to pro­vide value for money to the ratepayer.”

Mr Barter says about $1.6m had been ap­proved for the project in a trans­port com­mit­tee meet­ing in Novem­ber.

“It is very sad that the mo­tor­way will open and I have been wait­ing for 13 years for the cy­cle­way,” he says.

Mt Roskill res­i­dent and cycling ad­vo­cate John Gre­gory says he was sur­prised to hear the project was in jeop­ardy.

“I had not the slight­est doubt that it would go ahead,” he says.

Bar­bara Cuth­bert, co-chair of Cy­cle Action Auck­land, also says it is frus­trat­ing to hear that the job is on hold.

“A chain is only as strong as its weak­est link. We could see that State High­way 20 was nearly com­plete and have been won­der­ing what’s hap­pened with the cy­cle­way,” she says.

“It is a beau­ti­ful cy­cle­way and this un­com­pleted sec­tion is hugely im­por­tant.”

Ngati Whatua spokesman Ngarimu Blair says he hopes the par­ties can work to­gether to bring the project to fruition within Novem­ber’s agreed fund­ing plan.

“It has to hap­pen in one go, not in stages.”

The coun­cil says it aims to de­liver the project in the next fi­nan­cial year.

“There are a num­ber of al­ter­na­tive routes for cy­clists to nav­i­gate around this sec­tion and to re­con­nect with the Waikaraka cy­cle­way net­work,” says Mr Bag­u­ley.

Coun­cil of­fi­cers will re­port their re­vised so­lu­tions to the trans­port com­mit­tee to­mor­row.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Ped­alling along: Mt Roskill Com­mu­nity Board chair­man Richard Barter, left, and cycling ad­vo­cate John Gre­gory are keen to see the cy­cle­way com­plete.

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