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Contracting Calamity Turns Into Triumph

A contracting and environmental disaster has ended in triumph for Ashburton civil-construction company Doug Hood Ltd.

Four years ago Hood suffered every contractor’s nightmare while building the Opuha Dam in South Canterbury when a severe rainstorm demolished the partly constructed structure.

The company rebuilt the dam largely at its own expense, suffered a lengthy and costly prosecution under the Resource Management Act, and was asked to withdraw the project from the Contractors’ Federation¹s prestigious annual Caltex construction awards.

Now, however, the skillfully rebuilt dam is a huge economic and environmental success. Irrigation it provides has revitalised the region¹s farming community, leading to booming business, industrial and service sectors, and trout and salmon numbers in the Opihi River are healthier than for years.

Hood’s role in turning a calamity into a celebration was acknowledged at the weekend when Caltex presented the company with a special prize at this year’s construction awards for ‘behaving with commendable dignity in the way it made amends’.

The occasion was a double victory for the company, which also won one of the annual awards for carrying out what client Coeur NZ described as ‘a world-class rehabilitation programme’ during the closure of the Golden Cross gold and silver mine at Waihi.

Other awards were presented to Downer Engineering for its $4 million stormwater diversion project in central Auckland (the largest ever in the city) and to McDonough Contracting for its upgrade of the South Bruce farm-irrigation system for Clutha District Council.


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