Assurances given on siren report

By John Cousins

Tauranga city councillors have been promised a report that will deliver a "sensible way forward" for the city's controversial tsunami warning system.

The assurance was given by city services manager Ian McDonald to a meeting of the city council yesterday.

It followed Councillor Murray Guy expressing frustration that councillors had not been kept in the loop on issues identified by the design and tendering work carried out by Meerkat Alert Systems.

He said last week that the council had failed to manage the process effectively and had been made to look stupid again.

Meerkat was selected as the preferred tenderer last year, with a plan to install about 60 small electronic sirens alarms.

But old-fashioned mechanical air-raid sirens have now re-entered contention after "significant risks" were identified following the completion of the design and tendering work by Meerkat.

Mr McDonald said resource consent notification issues had been raised.

The other main issue was that an acoustic analysis had indicated that Meerkat's proposal needed further work, with potential cost implications.

Cr Guy complained that he had only learned by email from the Mayor Stuart Crosby last Thursday night that the consenting process had raised a number of hurdles - after Mr Crosby had spoken to a Bay of Plenty Times reporter that the number of electronic sirens needed to cover the 20km coastline would cost too much.

Mr McDonald said a full report on the sensible way forward would be prepared for the council by city engineer Howard Severinsen.

It would "properly traverse all the issues and solutions".

He said sirens were of high interest to the community and everything needed to be on the table in order to make an informed decision.

Cr Guy wanted the report to also set out how the council got into this situation, suggesting it needed input from others - not just staff.

Cr Guy did not ask how much the first stage of Meerkat's contract had cost ratepayers.


- Bay of Plenty Times

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