Otago Daily Times

‘Time to de­liver’ on cap­i­tal works pro­gramme

CLUTHA

- RICHARD DAV­I­SON richard.dav­i­son@odt.co.nz Business

CLUTHA of­fi­cials says it is ‘‘time to de­liver’’, fol­low­ing a year of se­verely con­strained coun­cil ac­tiv­ity.

In the Clutha Dis­trict Coun­cil’s draft 2019­20 an­nual re­port, re­leased last week, Clutha Mayor Bryan Cado­gan said while Covid­19 had caused ‘‘in­evitable’’ de­lays to the coun­cil’s cap­i­tal works pro­gramme, it could not ac­count wholly for a ‘‘con­cern­ing’’ 39% com­ple­tion rate in some ar­eas.

‘‘The ef­fects of the pan­demic in halt­ing most ac­tiv­ity dur­ing a key pe­riod were cer­tainly the dom­i­nant fac­tor in the low rate of com­ple­tion on many projects, but there were also other fac­tors at play.’’

Those in­cluded se­vere re­gion­wide flood­ing in Fe­bru­ary and sig­nif­i­cant con­sent­ing and non­com­pli­ance is­sues for some projects, in­clud­ing bridge re­place­ments and waste­water plant up­grades, he said.

A $3.4 mil­lion bridge re­place­ment at Hi­nahina in the Catlins was due to start in March, just be­fore the lock­down be­gan.

Also in March, an Otago Re­gional Coun­cil re­view re­vealed is­sues with all 11 of Clutha’s waste­water treat­ment plants, re­quir­ing the coun­cil to for­mu­late an ex­ten­sive pro­gramme of works to rem­edy the sit­u­a­tion.

The area of water de­liv­ery did not fare much bet­ter, after only 39% of cap­i­tal works were com­pleted.

In the area of road­ing, the coun­cil com­pleted just 50% of its planned cap­i­tal works dur­ing the year.

‘‘Un­for­tu­nately, the ma­jor­ity of road­works are done from March to June to ben­e­fit from the weather. As we’ve seen this year, that can cause is­sues when no work can be done at all dur­ing that key pe­riod.’’

Mr Cado­gan said ir­re­spec­tive of the chal­leng­ing year, the coun­cil needed to ‘‘re­fo­cus’’ and re­dou­ble its ef­forts.

‘‘Fur­ther dis­rup­tion aside, now it’s time to de­liver for ratepay­ers.’’

Dur­ing the 2019­20 fi­nan­cial year, the coun­cil spent a to­tal of $57.9 mil­lion, which in­cluded $18.2 mil­lion of cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture.

Its to­tal op­er­at­ing rev­enue was $47,414,000, up 10.6% on the pre­vi­ous year.

Debt re­mained lim­ited at $9 mil­lion.

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