Lake makeover costs jump

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By CAITLIN WAL­LACE

Con­struc­tion costs at Lake Moana-nui have been blown out of the wa­ter with the to­tal ex­pected to ex­ceed $1 mil­lion.

Toko­roa’s 49-year-old lake has been un­der­go­ing dra­matic im­prove­ments since last year but the cost keeps es­ca­lat­ing.

Un­ex­pected hur­dles bumped up the orig­i­nal $629,000 to $982,000 in March this year but more dis­cov­er­ies have led to an­other po­ten­tial in­crease of $82,000.

Gen­eral man­ager of as­sets Ted An­der­sen said the main prob­lem was found un­der­ground.

‘‘The depth be­low the silt was a lot deeper than we thought,’’ he said.

This meant more ex­ca­va­tion was needed.

Other is­sues which could bump up the price were staffing, re­source con­sent costs and ex­ca­va­tion ma­te­rial con­trol.

An­der­sen said there are al­ways risks when work­ing un­der­ground.

‘‘A lot of the prob­lem was that you do not see what you are deal­ing with un­til you get in there and do it.’’

Deputy mayor Jenny Shat­tock was skep­ti­cal about how the ex­tra cost would be sourced.

‘‘Where is that money com­ing from? Or are we just go­ing to go into debt in that ac­count un­til it re­cov­ered it from the rates next year? I know we’ve got to do it be­cause we’re so far through it,’’ she said.

But deputy chief ex­ec­u­tive Ben Smit said it would not af­fect fu­ture rates, but it could mean a dif­fer­ent coun­cil project would get the chop.

An­der­sen said to­tal costs would not be con­firmed un­til six weeks time.

‘‘We haven’t over­spent, we are still un­der budget, this is the po­ten­tial costs,’’ he said.

An­der­sen said the in­crease would add to the to­tal which will be taken from a loan fund and paid off over time.

The July com­ple­tion date may also be ex­tended to mid-Au­gust.

Coun­cil­lor Terry Mag­ill said he was in full sup­port but was wor­ried about fu­ture main­te­nance.

‘‘One of my con­cerns was that in the past the plant­ings had not been looked af­ter very well.

‘‘I would hate to think we would spend $1 mil­lion and have more beau­ti­fi­ca­tion only to find these plant­ings aren’t looked af­ter,’’ he said.

An­der­sen said the lake steer­ing com­mit­tee would cre­ate a ‘‘friends of the lake group’’ to take care of it.

He said it would be run by vol­un­teers and run­ning costs would be paid for by the coun­cil.

‘‘If we could get that set up we could get the com­mu­nity to take own­er­ship of the lake.

‘‘We want to break that bar­rier that it is the coun­cil’s, it is the com­mu­nity’s,’’ An­der­sen said.

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