A signage error has been given as one of the reasons for a $124,000 overspend on Mount Maunganui's controversial Te Papa O Ngā Manu Porotakataka urban park.
And it's not the only council project that needed more money to finish the job, with Durham St coming in an extra $375,000 over its already significantly increased budget.
The overspends were revealed in a meeting of the Tauranga City Council's Finance, Audit and Risk Committee yesterday, with elected members questioning why they were just learning of them.
The budget to turn downtown Mount Maunganui's Phoenix car park into an open urban space - later renamed Te Papa O Ngā Manu Porotakataka - was initially set at $2 million in 2015.
That was topped up to $2.49m shortly after construction started in 2018, and some design elements were also changed or stripped out of the project to save money.
The extra $124,000 added yesterday will take that to $2.61m.
The overspend was put down to:
- extra professional services fees resulting from the necessity for consultants to complete designs for the toilet block amendments
- extra design work around issues on site, both landscape and civil, and
- increased time on site by engineers working on management, survey and quality assurance activities to get it done before Christmas
- refabricating the sign for the park as the original had errors.
After the meeting, the Bay of Plenty Times learned the error was one incorrect word and the sign would cost about $7000 to remake.
The Durham St streetscaping and infrastructure renewal project was initially supposed to cost $6.1m but the council topped the budget up by $3.3m - a 50 per cent increase - in May last year.
When the project finished in October, the council told the Bay of Plenty Times it was tracking within the $10.2m budget, with some costs yet to be finalised.
Figures presented to yesterday's meeting said the extra $375,000 to complete the project were a result of:
- additional unforeseen ground conditions
- service relocations
- extensions of time for the contractor
- consultancy services, and
- building consents.
Councillor John Robson asked why the council was being asked to "approve" the overspends.
This was changed to "note" in the resolution after council staff acknowledged the money had already been spent.
Councillor Dawn Kiddie asked why the council was learning about the overspend after the fact.
Chief executive Marty Grenfell said the committee was the appropriate forum for the overspends to be formally reported. He was not sure whether councillors had previously been told informally.
"The fact is the money is spent and we have a requirement to reflect that."
Kiddie also noted that plants in the park were "sitting there dying" as they were not being watered.
After the meeting, community services general manager Gareth Wallis said the park's automatic irrigation system had been turned off due to the council's sprinkler ban.
"It will be turned back on again as soon as the current sprinkler ban is lifted."
Asked for comment on the overspend and the park, Mount Business Association chairman Grant Aislabie said the overspend was no surprise given contractors had been seen laying pavers only to rip them up and redo them not long after.
He said there were still a lot of issues with the park - including the lack of shade and a "perpetually leaning pole", leaving some bad feeling towards it among some in the mainstreet.
While it was nice to see kids enjoying the water feature over summer and the park was generally looking nice, the general feeling towards it, in his experience, was that it was "tolerated".
"The end product was not the project that was sold to us."
Wallis said the park was "designed for people to enjoy".
"It creates a greater sense of belonging for our community by encouraging social interaction through a shared space to rest and play. The space is a mix of hard surfaces, lawn and planting providing a flexible area for events and activities all year round."