Saturday, November 27

New $ 13 Million Price Increase for Whangārei’s Oruku Landing Conference and Event Center


Whangārei’s controversial Oruku Landing conference and event center will cost $ 13 million more than originally said, a new report shows.

An artist's impression of the proposed development of Oruku Landing on the shore of the Whangārei City Watershed.

An artist’s impression of the proposed development of Oruku Landing on the shore of the Whangārei City Watershed.
Photo: Provided / Defender of the North

The construction cost of the proposed center and its surroundings has increased by $ 13.15 million from the Whangārei District Council (WDC) figures initially provided. It will now cost $ 136 million, up from $ 123 million when it was first announced at the start of the public consultation on October 18.

This means that a potential 23 percent increase in the WDC-funded taxpayer-proposed $ 57 million for the project has now grown to $ 70 million, towards the $ 136 million center and surrounding infrastructure project.

This means that WDC’s rates would potentially increase by seven percent next year, compared to an initial forecast of six percent on October 18, if the council decides to fund the conference center, which is part of the larger hotel. and private $ 250 million Oruku Landing. , department and store development of Northland Development Corporation.

The construction cost of the Oruku Landing conference and event center has increased from $ 80 million to $ 87.45 million. Surrounding infrastructure increases funded with public funds include its boardwalk which will increase by $ 4.4 million and the boardwalk by $ 3.15 million.

The new cost increases mean that WDC will have to obtain additional feedback on submissions from those who have already submitted more than 1700 project submissions. These have been based on cost estimates from October 18.

On November 4, the council received the CEC’s preliminary 146-page Oruku Landing Scholarship report commissioned by the WDC.

WDC CEO Rob Forlong said the cost increases could be explained if the council moves from the conceptual design stage to the preliminary design stage. This made it possible to consolidate costs, as was usual in the evolution of a project.

The proposal was submitted for the October 18 consultation start with concept design estimates, rather than the more customary, and more defined, preliminary design estimates. This had been so that WDC could meet deadlines for accepting government project funding, he said.

On October 18, the Oruku Landing conference center and surrounding infrastructure project, originally $ 123 million, would be funded by $ 57 million from WDC contributors, $ 6 million from Northland Regional Council contributors ( NRC) and 60 million from the government.

Forlong said the council is now looking at how the additional cost is handled.

It wouldn’t be based on whether the latest increase meant the project was still ongoing or canned. That was a decision for councilors on Nov. 26, after the submissions had been considered, he said.

Options included, without continuing with the project; WDC taxpayers paying the additional $ 13.15 million; ask the government to increase its contribution to the $ 60 million project; NRC increasing its taxpayer funding; eliminate the Oruku Landing ferry terminal proposed by the project, valued at $ 2.6 million; remove the proposed $ 18- $ 20 million pedestrian bridge from Oruku Landing across the Hātea River.

But any changes must be made in consultation with the government. Its $ 60 million funding requires the inclusion of the bridge, with that total contribution amount potentially reduced accordingly in the event that the bridge does not continue.

WDC enrollment, if continued, commits taxpayers to underwrite the project’s excess costs and pay the center’s annual operating costs of $ 5 million.

Local Democracy Reporting asked NRC executive director Malcolm Nicolson if the regional council plans to increase its financial contribution to the center, following the new report, but has yet to receive a response.

This week there will be three public meetings about the proposed center. About 50 people were expected at the first meeting, at the Ruakākā Recreation Center last night (Monday).

The next meeting will take place at the Forum North exhibition hall in Whangārei on November 9 (6.30 – 8.30 pm) and at the Hikurangi War Memorial Hall on November 11 (6.30 – 8.30 pm).

Attendance registration is required for these Covid-19 risk management meetings and venues are filling up fast.

Public presentations can be made through the WDC website until November 18.

the Request form includes the option for submitters to say whether they want the conference and event center to be retained or continued.

More information can be found, including the new report. here.

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Local Democracy Reporting is a public interest news service supported by RNZ, the Association of News Publishers, and NZ On Air.


www.rnz.co.nz

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