The cost to re-route Mauao's popular base track is likely to exceed an already approved $2.2 million budget.
And several Tauranga projects are unlikely to go ahead as a result.
Tauranga City Council announced via a media release yesterday it planned to re-route a 250m section of the track along the beach, where it was less likely to be affected by slips in the future.
However, contractors indicated the cost of repairing the base track under this plan "would be significantly higher than the $2.2m that has been approved by the council".
Andrew Hollis, speaking on behalf of an informal group of Mount Maunganui ratepayers, questioned where the $2.2m was coming from.
"It's a simple project," he said.
"If it's just earthworks there's no way it should cost that much. That's why people are outraged. I think we could fix the whole base track for that money."
Mount Maunganui/Papamoa Ward councillor Steve Morris said this was the reality of an "overheated construction market".
"It has become a pattern. it's not just the Mauao works. There are multiple projects where the tenders are coming back significantly over budget.
"Part of the potential solution to that is to pull back some projects. We've learned from Phoenix carpark, people really don't have an appetite for reducing the scope of a project. The best thing is probably not to start them."
Morris listed $35m for city libraries, $4m to $5m for a proposed i-Site at Mount Maunganui and additional funding for upgrading the city's streetscape as projects that should be delayed. The Waiari Water Treatment Plant, Mauao base track and three-laning of Turret Rd were priorities, he said.
Morris said there were some council projects where no tenders were coming back at all.
"People are saying 'nah, there's too much work on' right now. So it doesn't make sense to be going hell for leather at the moment," Morris said.
In April 2017, a 14m-wide slip buried the section of track after ex-Cyclone Debbie hit.
The council created box steps up and around the slip, allowing walkers and runners to complete a circuit. However, these steps are not wheelchair or pram accessible.
CCC Disability Action's Mandy Gudgeon said the organisation hoped the base track would be reinstated to its previous state "when it was accessible to people of all abilities".
"With one in four New Zealanders identifying as living with a disability plus our ageing population, to be able to include the elderly, mums with prams and people with mobility challenges makes common sense."
Council staff will report to a meeting on April 16 with details of delivery options, including the cost, risk and timing implications.
When asked if the council consulted with the community on the cost and whether staff would recommend further consultation, what factors of the project had changed or were underestimated and how much did the box steps cost, Tauranga City Council was unable to respond before deadline yesterday.