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Benefits Go Far Beyond Pipes In The Ground

What lies beneath Blenheim is a mostly unseen but significant driver of economic activity for Marlborough.

Since Marlborough emerged from COVID Level 4 in August last year, more than $30 million in critical infrastructure contracts have either been awarded or restarted in the region with local contractors benefitting from close to $17 million of these. This is just one part of the Council’s overall capital expenditure (core infrastructure) programme, which is budgeted to be $74 million in 2021/2022.

Two of the more significant core infrastructure projects already underway are the northwest Blenheim sewer upgrade ($13.7 million) and Muller Road wastewater, stormwater and watermain replacement ($3.4 million) works.

Mayor John Leggett said the Council’s key focus had been on delivering its planned core infrastructure programme. “This has provided significant opportunities and downstream expenditure for local contractors which was the intent,” he said.

One of the biggest ticket items, the upgrade to the Blenheim northwest sewer, went to a Canterbury-based branch of national firm, Schick Civil Construction. “Schick Civil proved to have the appropriate skills and experience to ensure the successful completion of this significant project,” said the Council’s Assets & Services Manager, Richard Coningham. “They also committed to using plenty of local sub-contractor expertise over the life of the 18-month project.”

Schick Civil’s Stakeholder Manager Nathan Twaddle said local employment had also been a priority, with more than half a dozen staff who are either Marlborough-based or have moved to the region as a result part of the project team.

“We know it is a privilege to work on a project of this importance to the Marlborough community” he said. “Local employment and use of local subcontractors are an important part of ensuring the benefit extends beyond pipes in the ground.”

Other than some key supervisory staff, Schick Civil has looked to recruit locally, with a focus on employing new people to the industry, rather than sourcing from other local contractors. “Those new local staff have been provided training that will help their career opportunities in the future and build more resilience and capacity in the sector locally,” said Nathan.

“With sustainability being a key driver, it is also common sense to use local wherever possible, we reduce thousands of road miles by working with people and procurement in the region,” he said.

As of December 2020, there were 22 Schick Civil staff working on the project and 23 subcontracting staff. January 2021 was expected to have similar personnel numbers.

Local subbies working on the project are the sealing contractors (TC Nicholls), aggregate suppliers and cartage (Edridge), traffic management (Men at Work), and water main disinfection (Crafars). CMT Group, HydroTech and Aotea Electrical are also subcontracting at various stages of the project.

The Muller Road Three Waters project was also tendered exclusively to local contractors and was won by Fulton Hogan.

© Scoop Media

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