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Foreshore project steams ahead

JOE DAWSON
Last updated 05:00 07/12/2012

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The money is in the bank and the Onehunga foreshore development project is to go ahead as planned.

News the $28 million project's funding had been "deferred" by the Auckland Council caused consternation among many, not least because it was just last month that a ceremony was held to mark the start of construction.

The Auckland Council recently revised the dates at which it would make the money it has pledged to the project available, sparking concerns in some quarters that it was backing out.

But that is not case according to the Maungakiekie Tamaki Local Board.

Board chairman Simon Randall says the budget has been changed to reflect the project's actual timing compared to what was envisaged under the council's original long-term budget.

Changes mean there will be slightly less work in the 2012/13 financial year, more in 2013/14 and some in 2014/15.

The overall budget remains the same and the construction crew remains on the ground.

The change is a result of a delay after the project was taken to the Environment Court earlier this year.

Mr Randall says after waiting for such a long time for the project to get the go-ahead - it has been on the community wish list for 30 years - learning that things are being delayed in any way can be alarming for some.

But he says there is nothing to worry about.

"Many of us had that reaction but this project is still full steam ahead," he says.

"It went to the Environment Court and it was pushed out four months and that's the reality of it.

"All that has happened is we have delayed the money until we need it.

"The funding comes through our books as the local board and I can assure you it's all still there."

He said delaying the funding is simply "housekeeping".

"The reason it is happening now is we're just going into the annual plan process and that's the time to do it," he says.

"We've been in touch with the key stakeholders to let them know it's still on and sticking to schedule."

Onehunga Enhancement Society member and project campaigner Jim Jackson says he is not concerned by the delay.

"I believe it will carry on in its current timetable and in two-and-a-half years' time we will see it finished."

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