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Mayor Slams Untruths and Misinformation on Council

Mayor Slams Untruths and Misinformation on Council Move

Mayor Bob Harvey today hit back at critics of the Waitakere Central Project, commenting on new analysis showing that the project is actually a better financial proposition than the alternative at the current Waipareira Avenue site.

Despite recent reports in a local newspaper, Council documents show that the Waitakere Central Project is likely to have a net cost to ratepayers of between $33 and $35.5 million (after sale of the existing building), while an extension to the existing building would likely have a net cost of between $37 and $39 million.

“We have had our Quantity Surveyors, Rawlinsons Limited, compare the costs of the two projects. The analysis is based on the size of building the Council requires at the Henderson Valley Road site versus what would need to be added to the existing Civic Centre in order to provide the equivalent. It also includes the cost of required major upgrading to the existing Civic Centre, which are costs that would be faced by the Council were it to stay in the building The cost shows at between $39 and $40 million, which is a far cry from the $16 million figure shown in some media outlets” says Mayor Bob Harvey.

“The comparison is a real apples with apples approach. It provides the true cost of staying at the Waipareira Avenue site. The cost has increased because of construction market escalation, an increase to the size of the building, and the extra carparking this requires. Site constraints at the Waipareira Avenue site mean that this additional carparking can not be accommodated at grade, and needs to be in the form of basement or constructed parking. While this debate is now academic because of the successful sale of the site to Unitec, it is still useful for residents and ratepayers to have factual information” says Mayor Bob Harvey. “There has been a lot of speculation and misinformation about the Waitakere Central Project recently - there has been talk of cost overruns and comments that we have received a poor deal on the sale of the existing Civic Centre. This is all nonsense” says Mayor Harvey.

“We need to compare like with like. Council has reviewed the initial project plan for Waitakere Central and decided that the project actually needed to be bigger to cope with community and operational requirements. A bigger project needs a bigger budget – this is not a cost overrun, but realistic and honest budgeting. Similar scope adjustments have also occurred with the Trust Stadium Project, and these have been met by additional fundraising. Now we are faced with a particular Councillor stating that the Waipareira Avenue option would have cost only $16 million, when clearly they know this is not and has never been the case”.

“That Councillor has also said that we undersold the Civic Centre. The same Councillor said we would not get $5 million for the building. Now when we get over $7 million, along with a Tertiary Institute and no rent costs for 2 years on the existing premises, he says we have got a poor deal” says Mayor Harvey.

Mayor Harvey says that he finds the uninformed Councillor’s newspaper campaign difficult to accept. “This sort of misinformation is misleading. I am unsure whether that Councillor has chosen to deliberately misrepresent the true position or simply doesn’t understand the material which is provided to him. Either way it is important that the true facts are presented to the Community”.

Mayor Harvey also says that with the $9.5 million dollars granted by Infrastructure Auckland for the rail station, track work, bus interchange, park and ride, and airbridge at Henderson, the future for both the city and the project is looking very bright.

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