Speed bumps de­lay turf project

The Wellingtonian - - Front Page - JAMES PAUL

Karori’s $1 mil­lion plans for an ar­ti­fi­cial turf are five months be­hind sched­ule af­ter a se­ries of set­backs in­clud­ing wind dam­age, pes­ti­cide con­tam­i­na­tion, re­source con­sent chal­lenges and geotech­ni­cal prob­lems.

The old Ter­awhiti Bowl­ing Club was to be trans­formed into a three-quar­ter size, all-weather train­ing area for sports clubs by May, but now won’t be ready un­til mid-oc­to­ber.

The lat­est hitch in­volved blus­tery con­di­tions blow­ing away unglued turf and peel­ing away a cor­ner sec­tion of the rub­ber shock pad.

But that was just one of a num­ber of is­sues Welling­ton City Coun­cil has had to nav­i­gate since the project be­gan.

All such schemes had a few un­knowns, but ‘‘this one seemed to have quite a few of them’’, coun­cil spokesman Richard Ma­clean said.

Two Karori res­i­dents chal­lenged the re­source con­sent ap­pli­ca­tion be­fore work be­gan, de­lay­ing the de­vel­op­ment.

‘‘This added sig­nif­i­cant time de­lays to the project, mean­ing we were con­struct­ing through win­ter. [We have] never [con­structed in win­ter] be­fore,’’ Ma­clean said.

‘‘The com­pro­mise through the hear­ing added some costs to the de­sign, as well as re­duc­ing the train­ing op­er­at­ing hours.’’

It was dis­cov­ered the site was con­tam­i­nated.

The cost of cart­ing con­tam­i­nated soil off the site, in­clud­ing land­fill costs, were sig­nif­i­cant for ev­ery cu­bic me­tre re­moved, Ma­clean said.

‘‘We found the geotech­ni­cal in­for­ma­tion wasn’t as good as it could have been ... we had to im­port quite a bit of heavy rock ma­te­rial to strengthen the base and then build the base of the field on top of this.

‘‘This meant we didn’t need to re­move more soil than de­signed, but it did in­crease civil works costs.’’

An­other change to the orig­i­nal de­sign re­moved the grass at the east­ern side of the bowl­ing club build­ing, and added a leisure turf area.

Ma­clean said the ad­van­tage of this al­ter­ation out­weighed the added costs.

‘‘We do have a sig­nif­i­cant over­spend on the project, mainly due to de­ci­sions we have made on im­prove­ments, rather than de­sign faults.

‘‘Over­all the project has come in at about $1 mil­lion – which was a fig­ure that we were ex­pect­ing since it was first pro­posed.’’

Blus­tery Welling­ton winds blew away Karori’s re­cently laid ar­ti­fi­cial turf last month. PHOTO: JAMES PAUL/STUFF

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