Town upgrade faces $200k blowout

By Emily Norman -
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Eketahuna's $430,000 town upgrade will begin to unfold next week. Photo / Lynda Feringa
Eketahuna's $430,000 town upgrade will begin to unfold next week. Photo / Lynda Feringa

The Eketahuna town upgrade which is due to start on February 14 may go over budget by $200,000 in its existing form.

Tararua District councillor Tracey Collis made this known at Friday's Eketahuna Community Board meeting.

She said the board was exploring ways to save money to stay within the $430,000 budget, but that "any overspend will return 10 times over" in benefiting the town in the long term.

"What we do in Eketahuna for this Main Street Upgrade will be here for many years to come, so it's crucial that we achieve the look and feel that our design has, and to achieve this all concepts must interlink and feed off each other," she said.

"To be able to achieve this overall design, based on the costings from the Alliance Team, the project may go over budget, possibly by as little as $200,000.

"However, when we look at the whole scheme of things, over a number of years, the community will benefit from this project economically and socially.

"We think this possible overspend will return 10 times over. In saying that, the Eketahuna Community Board is looking at all avenues for saving money so an overrun can be as minimal as possible."

Mrs Collis said many hours had gone into "ensuring this project has a solid foundation to work off" and that the community has been brought along on the journey with the end objective of having a smoothly run project.

"The Eketahuna community board see the big picture, and this project is simply the start of the journey for our town," she said.

There will be a ceremony on February 14 at which Tararua Mayor Roly Ellis will put the first spade in the ground, signifying the start of the upgrade.

"Our intention is to keep the public up to date with progress on the project via a visual board placed in town so that at any stage people can see how the project is progressing in regards to timeframe and budget," Mrs Collis said.

Other means of communications that were mentioned at the community board meeting were to send out fliers to residents that would inform them of the upgrade and processes, and to create a Facebook page that would inform people on progress and encourage them to participate in discussions and share their view on the ongoing upgrade.

Other topics discussed at the community board meeting were the Hurricanes' pre-season match and Eketahuna's skatepark project, which is in early planning stages.

Mrs Collis arranged for some Eketahuna tourist T-shirts to be signed by retiring All Blacks captain Richie McCaw.

These will be raffled at the Hurricanes' pre-season match on February 13.

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