Pool’s costs met by sales

Waipa Post - - News -

Waipa¯ Dis­trict Coun­cil has con­firmed that cost in­creases for the Cam­bridge pool pro­ject will be cov­ered from prop­erty sales and will not in­crease rates.

Coun­cil has en­tered into a $17.6 mil­lion fixed-price con­tract to build the long-awaited pool com­plex — an in­crease of $1.6 mil­lion on the con­struc­tion works fore­cast 18 months ago.

Ma­te­rial and fuel price in­creases, a stretched sub-con­trac­tor mar­ket and an un­will­ing­ness to take on risk have pushed the price up.

The to­tal pro­ject bud­get is now $20.7 mil­lion. This in­cludes all pro­fes­sional ser­vices, plan­ning and con­sent costs, fitout (fur­ni­ture, equip­ment) and so­lar power for the build­ing. Of this, $2 mil­lion will come from ex­ter­nal fundrais­ing.

Mayor Jim Mylchreest is re­as­sur­ing the com­mu­nity that coun­cil won’t be turn­ing to ratepay­ers for help.

“The ex­tra money needed will come from planned prop­erty sales in Cam­bridge which have al­ready re­turned $2.7 mil­lion more than ex­pected,” he said.

“Let me be very clear. We won’t be com­ing back to ratepay­ers and ask­ing for more money to fund the pool.”

“Waipa¯ had been caught up in con­struc­tion chal­lenges be­ing felt na­tion­wide across both the com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial sectors,” he said.

More than 29 pack­ages of work for the pool were ten­dered, in­volv­ing more than 200 sub-con­trac­tors.

More than half of the con­trac­tors de­clined to even quote, ad­vis­ing there was plenty of work else­where with­out the same lev­els of risk or com­plex­ity.

A short­age of skilled labour and high de­mand for trades­peo­ple meant 13 pack­ages of work were quoted on by two or fewer con­trac­tors. In all in­stances, prices quoted were far higher than what they were 18 months ago.

“The ad­vice we’ve had, and we’ve tested it, is that the mar­ket won’t soften in the short to medium term and that if any­thing, prices will go up and not down,” said the Mayor.

“Given that, and given the very clear mes­sage from the com­mu­nity to ‘get on with it’, we’ve pushed the go but­ton but locked the price down via a fixed price con­tract.

“It means the price can­not change — that’s it.”

Coun­cil did con­sider re-ten­der­ing the pro­ject, hop­ing for bet­ter prices. An­other op­tion was a for­mal peer re­view of the pro­ject bud­get.

“Both would have added at least six months to the con­struc­tion timetable and the in­de­pen­dent ad­vice we’ve had is that prices are likely to go up, not down,” said Jim.

“We could have waited and ended up in a worse po­si­tion.”

Coun­cil also con­sid­ered rescop­ing the pro­ject and re­mov­ing com­po­nents like the hy­drother­apy pool or pulling the plug and putting the en­tire pro­ject on hold.

“I don’t think ei­ther of those would have been re­motely ac­cept­able to our com­mu­nity which has al­ready been wait­ing a long time,” said Jim.

“Af­ter con­sid­er­ing all op­tions, we’ve cho­sen to bite the bul­let know­ing that we still have Cam­bridge prop­erty in our back pocket to sell, with the pro­ceeds al­ready ear­marked for the pool pro­ject.”

Jim said re-test­ing the sub-con­trac­tor mar­ket meant the pro­ject was now three months be­hind sched­ule.

“We will be go­ing as hard as we can to try and make up that time but we’ll also need to be pa­tient.

“Given the mar­ket, there’s not much we can do about it.”

Con­cept of new Cam­bridge Pool.

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