Archives for posts with tag: Anchor projects

The deadlines for a number of the apparently critical anchor projects were pushed out late last week. If you’ve read this blog, you know what my feelings are on those projects, so I won’t go into them again. However, there was one thing that especially concerned me: the cost. The delays were to three projects – the convention centre, the metro sports facility, and the Margaret Mahy playground. When defending the decision, Gerry Brownlee said that these were a billion dollars of projects and it needed to be done right.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said the three projects would cost about $1 billion between them, and it was important not to rush them.

I don’t disagree with the sentiment, but when did these three projects get to a billion dollars? I’ve looked back through the costs to try and find the original estimates. The playground is budgeted at $20 million. Metro Sports is meant to be around $225 million ($147m CCC + $70m Crown). The convention centre is meant to be around $500 million, with $284m of that being Crown money. Those of you with School C maths will have worked out that those totals come to $750 million, which is a full $250 million short of a billion. We know that the Prime Minister can’t rule out the Convention Centre cost rising – is that what is being signalled here? With the Council under the pump to sell assets or raise rates, it must be incredibly dispiriting to be working with a government that can’t even manage their end of the bargain without the costs blowing out by a third.

John Campbell brought his show to Christchurch last night, and I’m not just excited about this because he was filming outside my house. The whole of the show focussed on the city, with a really important lead story on the struggle between the council and the government about the Blueprint. The increasingly impressive Councillor Manji came across as a voice of reason:

Mr Manji believes that it is important to know when to admit something is not working, and to try something else. “I think the strategy has been to put a lot of resource into the central city area; [but] the reality [is that] everyone has left the central city area,” says Mr Manji. “All the commercial organisations have gone outside, new villages and new suburban [areas] sprung up.”

This issue is really starting to heat up. What would be quite useful at this point would be if the opposition parties were to wade in and let us know what they would do, if they were in power after the next election.