Fore­shore project is ‘still full steam ahead’

Central Leader - - NEWS - By JOE DAW­SON

The money is in the bank and the One­hunga fore­shore devel­op­ment project is to go ahead as planned.

News the $28 mil­lion project’s fund­ing had been ‘‘de­ferred’’ by the Auck­land Coun­cil caused con­ster­na­tion among many, not least be­cause it was just last month that a cer­e­mony was held to mark the start of con­struc­tion.

The Auck­land Coun­cil re­cently re­vised the dates at which it would make the money it has pledged to the project avail­able, spark­ing con­cerns in some quar­ters that it was back­ing out.

But that is not the case ac­cord­ing to the Maun­gakiekie Ta­maki Lo­cal Board.

Board chair­man Simon Ran­dall says the bud­get has been changed to re­flect the project’s ac­tual tim­ing com­pared to what was en­vis­aged un­der the coun­cil’s orig­i­nal long-term bud­get.

Changes mean there will be slightly less work in the 2012/13 fi­nan­cial year, more in 2013/14 and some in 2014/15.

The over­all bud­get re­mains the same and the con­struc­tion crew re­mains on the ground.

The change is a re­sult of a de­lay af­ter the project was taken to the En­vi­ron­ment Court ear­lier this year.

Mr Ran­dall says af­ter wait­ing for such a long time for the project to get the goa­head – it has been on the com­mu­nity wish list for 30 years – learn­ing that things are be­ing de­layed in any way can be alarming for some.

But he says there is noth­ing to worry about.

‘‘Many of us had that re­ac­tion but this project is still full steam ahead,’’ he says.

‘‘It went to the En­vi­ron­ment Court and it was pushed out four months and that’s the re­al­ity of it.

‘‘All that has hap­pened is we have de­layed the money un­til we need it.

‘‘The fund­ing comes through our books as the lo­cal board and I can as­sure you it’s all still there.’’

He said de­lay­ing the fund­ing is sim­ply ‘‘house­keep­ing’’.

‘‘The rea­son it is hap­pen­ing now is we’re just go­ing into the an­nual plan process and that’s the time to do it,’’ he says.

‘‘We’ve been in touch with the key stake­hold­ers to let them know it’s still on and stick­ing to sched­ule.’’

One­hunga En­hance­ment So­ci­ety mem­ber and project cam­paigner Jim Jack­son says he is not con­cerned by the de­lay.

‘‘I be­lieve it will carry on in its cur­rent timetable and in two-and-a-half years’ time we will see it fin­ished.’’

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