The Mauao base track repairs have been given the greenlight by Tauranga City Council. Sandra Conchie was in the council chambers when the decision was made.
Repairs to the Mauao base track are under way after the majority of Tauranga City councillors voted to move ahead with remediation works.
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A section of the base track which was damaged after a major slip during ex-cyclone Debbie in April 2017 is expected to be reopened by Christmas - at a fraction of the $2.3 million originally budgeted.
At an Emergency Tauranga City Council meeting on Wednesday, the majority of councillors voted in favour of the project which will cost about $719,000.
Four repair options were developed in close consultation with a variety of stakeholders, including the Mauao Trust and Heritage New Zealand who supported option one and the lower price tag.
The first stage of the repairs is able to be completed prior to Christmas including minor track re-alignment, upper slope soil nails and erosion protection matting installation.
The second stage would be completed in late January and early February involves similar works on the lower slope.
Project manager Gareth John said this option can be carried out under existing Heritage New Zealand consent arrangements.
It also does not compromise the council's ability to deliver other options for further base track remediation in the future, he said.
Work to prepare the site for construction works had already begun to ensure tight construction timeframes can be met, John said.
Pruning of two established pohutakawa trees on the site has been completed to reduce the weight loading of the trees.
Some councillors raised concerns about having to decide under urgency and one questioned the appointment of a contractor Waiotahi Contractors with no tender process.
John said he was confident this contractor who is already undertaking another project for the council could deliver on time and to a high standard.
Councillor John Robson elected to abstain from the vote.
"I am somewhat concerned about this process and the request to make the decision under urgency, the lack of analysis and impacts on ratepayers.
"Good governance needs options to be carefully considered and this is not good governance...I am not prepared to vote for this under such a short timeframe."
Councillor Kelvin Clout said he shared Robson's concerns in terms of the speed of the process.
But given the Mauao Trust supported option one and it had been two years since the slip and the community wanted urgent action, he was prepared to back the motion.
Mayor Tenby Powell said the reason for the matter being dealt under urgency was to have the first stage of the repairs completed in time for the summer season.
Powell said approving this project under urgency was entirely appropriate to provide much needed environmental protections for Mauao which was a "taonga" for this area.
The repairs were expected to offer a 10-15 year life expectancy.
Marty Grenfell, the council's chief executive, said the council recognised that it needed to continue to work with Mauao Trust to try and find long term solutions.
Mauao Trust member Buddy Mikaere said the trust was rapt the repairs were going head.
"I think it's a great decision for this city, especially given the other three options could have cost millions and millions of dollars, " he said.
Mikaere said the repairs opted for were a fairly straight-forward "practical" solution and fast-tracking the decision to undertake the remedial works made perfect sense.
Councillor Bill Grainger was absent from the meeting after making his apology.
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