Stephanie is a senior reporter for the Rotorua Daily Post.

Update: Call for more consultation on City Focus (+video)

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A councillor's call to use the delay in the City Focus revamp for more public consultation on the space has been shot down.

An update on the state of the half-finished City Focus space was given to councillors at today's Rotorua Lakes Council Operations and Monitoring Committee meeting.

Also revealed at the meeting was the state of the council's finances - which will see it reduce debt in a year it had planned to borrow $7 million.

The council's chief financial officer Thomas Colle revealed the plan to pay off between $2-3 million of debt later this month, taking the council's debt level to between $164-165 million.

He said cash reserves would increase by $3-4 million for capital projects starting in the new financial year (from July 1).

"That is a $10 million improvement on what we budgeted for in the first year of the Long-term Plan.

"When you compare how we were with similar levels of capital spend between 2009 and 2014, I think it's a pretty remarkable performance," he said.

During the discussion about the City Focus, councillor Peter Bentley said he was pleased construction had been delayed as it provided the opportunity for more public say.

"Thank you for doing a deferment on this as it is going to give the voting ratepayers a chance to express their pleasure or displeasure of the status of the Focus... [It was] a very hasty procedure we undertook initially so it's a marvellous opportunity for Rotorua ratepayers to have a vote on it."

Mayor Steve Chadwick said the process "certainly did not appear to be hasty to me".

The council's Inner City Revitalisation strategy lead adviser, Portia McKenzie, said consultation started more than two years ago, and the council had sought input from stakeholders, iwi and the public.

In today's Rotorua Daily Post council chief executive Geoff Williams said the delay was a result of just one company tendering for the project. That tender was not accepted.

He said the major construction work, due to have begun last month, was likely to start in the first quarter of 2017.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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