Planned visitor centre costs balloon

Te Uruhi planned to promote Ka¯ piti Island





The estimated cost of the Te Uruhi centre proposed for Paraparaumu Beach has ballooned. Te Uruhi is a biosecurity and visitor centre that the council is keen to build at the northern end of Maclean Park to promote Ka¯piti Island especially. The original price tag was about $4.5 million with the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund contributing half of those costs. But now there has been a $3.2m price rise pushing the total estimated cost to $7.7m. Ka¯piti Coast District Council councillors expressed their continued support for the project following a detailed briefing, and hope some external funding grants and sponsorship can cushion the financial impact. “One example of possible external funding is a current application for $1m to the Ministry of Culture and Heritage’s Environment and Culture Fund,” a statement by Mayor K Gurunathan said. “We know that any price increase is not ideal, but we are all seeing cost escalations in projects right across the country. “I want to reassure residents that the price increase will not impact next year’s rates or other important projects currently under way, such as the new Waikanae Library. “Officers assure us that, as well as exploring external support, funding can be used from within the existing capital works budget by re-phasing some projects based on their readiness to proceed.” A council statement said, “Factors contributing to the increased cost include the well-known global construction sector price rises due to Covid-related supply chain issues, building details that have become better understood as the project has moved into the next phase of design, and the inclusion of extended carparking at the southern end of Maclean Park. “Changes to carparking at the southern end of Maclean Park will result in a net gain of carparks.” It said councillors “were encouraged to see how the project is developing”. “They were also pleased to hear the level of support and collaboration council’s iwi partners have contributed so far and how Te Uruhi will help iwi realise their aspirations to reestablish their presence in the area.” Gurunathan said councillors concluded the project would deliver “significant benefits” to the district. Covid-related delays and building supply chain issues meant Te Uruhi was now expected to open at the end of 2023; the date also depended on gaining resource consent. “With the opening of Transmission Gully and the country’s borders to international tourists, our tourism sector is poised to rebound,” Gurunathan said. “So the timing of Te Uruhi, albeit later than initially expected, will be well placed to provide a foundation to improved our district’s tourism offering.”