The Dom Post reports:
The cost of Wellington’s Town Hall project looks set to expand to $130 million, as contractors are understood to be counting on a $20m contingency fund.
It may officially stand at $112.4m, but capital developers say the cost of Wellington’s Town Hall project will rise by a further $20m – with the “real” figure an open secret within the industry.
It was a bad idea at $46 million. At $130 million it is a terrible terrible idea. Will any Councillors have the guts to say enough is enough and we won’t force every household in Wellington to pay $1,800 for a music venue 95% of them will never use.
Spend that money on facilities that will benefit everyone such as libraries and parks, not something for the elite.
Property developer Richard Burrell, whose company Building Solutions has strengthened some 40 buildings over the last 30 years, believed the true cost of doing up the Town Hall was being hidden from the public, while its real budget was being openly talked about by the project’s engineers and preferred tenderer.
“The undisclosed contingency amount is bullshit,” Burrell said.
Of course the industry knows what the contingency is. The construction company will know for sure. the Crs know. The so called commercial secrecy is actually there to hide the figure from the public who will pay the bills.
At a press conference last week Lavery said the price of the Town Hall contract could not be fixed citing high demand in the construction industry, which made the council just one of many customers in the city.
So the Council is just going to bend over and sign a contract allowing the construction company to blow out the costs. I guarantee you if it was their own money they would not be.
Prominent philanthropist, property developer and former Wellingtonian of the Year Mark Dunajtschik said Lavery was asking for an “open cheque for a bottomless pit”.
He had also heard the project referred to as a $130m one within his industry.
Comparing the building to an “old dog”, he believed the council would be better off to dismantle the original facade and re-apply it to a new building built to modern standards. He was confident it would then cost “less than $112m”.
“Unfortunately the ratepayers are captive,” he said.
Time for Councillors to stand up for ratepayers and say enough is enough.