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Minister announces new plan for Metro Sports Facility

Hon Megan Woods

Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration

21 November 2017
Minister announces new plan for Metro Sports Facility

The Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Megan Woods has today announced a new plan for the Metro Sports Facility anchor project, after it was revealed the long-delayed project was expected to exceed its budget by $75 million under the current approach.

The previous government’s plan was for an early contractor involvement process, however official advice to the Minister showed that if the project went ahead on the current procurement approach, it would be well over budget.

This increase was made up of a new increased price by the preferred supplier and an increased risk allocation to cover the project. The project had also fallen further behind schedule, being delayed until the last quarter of 2020.

“As an incoming Minister, I have been conducting a thorough review of progress on the Anchor projects and to learn of a $75 million budget blowout on this project was very disappointing. That is an undue burden on taxpayers and ratepayers for a project that is already significantly delayed – in fact the facility was due to be opened by now, yet construction has not even begun. We can do better.

“This Government is committed to faster, concrete progress on the Canterbury recovery. We want action and momentum, not the delays and roadblocks we have seen in years past.

“That’s why I am announcing today that the early contractor involvement will be cancelled and I have instructed officials to undertake urgent work to get this project back on track.

“I have asked for two pieces of work – the first is for Ōtākaro to complete the detailed design work itself and get ready to go out for a new build-only contract. This will be completed by March/April 2018, allowing for the facility to be opened in the first quarter of 2021 if we proceed with this contract.

“I have also asked officials to use this time to partner with the Christchurch City Council on an urgent review of options for the project such as whether it would be beneficial to combine part or all of the Metro Sports Facility with the proposed Multi Use Arena. This will allow us to test whether the assumptions made in 2012 about this project still hold up and we are still getting a facility that meets the city’s needs and is fit for purpose.

“We will act urgently, as we are aware we are inheriting a project that is already well behind schedule. Having this work complete by the time a build-only plan is ready means no time is lost by considering other options now.

“At that point, I will make a decision about which option to proceed with and a construction timetable can be established. This review will give us a clear plan to deliver this project as quickly as possible, with a timeline we can be upfront about and have confidence in, in a manner we can afford.
“The people of Canterbury were promised a high quality sporting facility. It’s clear that the plan agreed under the previous government was not going to be able to deliver that without unacceptable extra costs. I know we can’t continue with the same approach and expect a different outcome. Today’s announcement is about setting out a clear roadmap to deliver a fit for purpose facility that Cantabrians deserve,” says Ms Woods.

Metro Sports Facility Fact Sheet
The Problem

This project has been long delayed and is now facing a $75 million budget blowout made up of an increased price by the preferred contractor and a significant risk escalation component. Announced as part of the Central City Recovery Plan, the facility was due to open in Q1 2016, the design is now 80% complete but construction has not yet started.

In 2012, the previous Government set a budget of $206 million in the original cost sharing agreement for this project, expanded in 2015 to a design and build contract with a budget of $246.3 million, funded by the Crown and the Christchurch City Council as per the Cost Sharing Agreement – which limits the Council’s contribution to $147 million.

Upon taking office however, the incoming Government was advised by officials that the final project cost would see the total construction cost of the project pushed up by $75 million to a total cost of $321 million.

The Government’s Solution:

The Minister has directed officials to undertake two streams of work to get this project back on track.

The first is for Ōtākaro Ltd to complete the detailed design of the building and get a build-only plan ready to go to market. The detailed design work is 80% finished.

It is expected this work will be completed by March/April of 2018. Planned expenditure of $1.3 million to complete the design will be continued.

At the same time, the Minister has directed officials to use this time to partner with the Christchurch City Council and conduct an urgent review of the options for this project.

Since the original plan for this project was developed in 2012, it makes sense to use this time to reassess whether the proposed facility is fit for purpose and meeting the city’s needs five years on. The Minister has also directed officials to involve the relevant sporting codes in the discussion.

This plan will set a clear path forward and ensure we are getting an affordable facility that is fit for purpose.


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